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14 And when Abram heard that his brother was 17 And the king of Sodom pwent out to meet taken captive, he *armed his trained servants, born him, (afier his return from the slaughter of Chein his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and dorlaoiner, and of the kings that were with pursued them munto Dan.
him,) at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's 15 And he divided himself against them, he and dale. his servants, by night, and "smote them, and pur 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought sued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of of Damascus.
the most 'high God. 16 And he brought back •all the goods, and also 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and Abram of the most high God, "possessor of heaven the women also, and the people.
and earth ;
2. The tidings were brought by one that had escaped with his braided Lot with his folly in quarrelling with him and removing life for a prey. Probably, he was a Sodomite, and as bad as from him, and have told him that he was well enough served, the worst of them; yet, knowing Abram's relation to Lot, and he might have known when he was well off: but, in the chariconcern for him, he implores his help, and hopes to speed for iable breast of pious Abram, it is all forgiven and forgotten; Lot's sake. Note, The worst of men, in the day of their trou- and he takes this opportunity to give a real proof of the sinble, will be glad to claim acquaintance with those that are wise cerity of his reconciliation. Note, (1.) We ought to be ready, and good, and so get an interest in them. The rich man in whenever it is in the power of our hands, to succour and relieve hell, called Abram Futher; and the foolish virgins make court those that are in distress, especially our relations and friends. to the wise for a share of their oil.
A brother is born for adversity, Prov. 17. 17. A friend in need II. The preparations he made for this expedition. The is a friend indeed. (2.) Though others have been wanting in cause was plainly good, his call to engage in it was clear; and their duty to us, yet we must not therefore deny our duty to therefore, with all speed, he armed his trained servants, born in them. Some have said that they can more easily forgive their his house, to the number of three hundred and eighteen. A great enemies than their friends : but we shall see ourselves obliged family, but a small army, about as many as Gideon's, that to forgive both, if we consider, not only that our God, when routed the Midianites, Judg. 7.7. He drew out his trained we were enemies, reconciled us, but also that he passeth by the servants, or his catechised servants, not only instructed in the transgression of the remnant of his heritage, Mic. 7. 18. art of war, which was then far short of the perfection which 2. He rescued the rest of the captives, for Lot's sake; though later and worse ages have improved it to, but instructed in the they were strangers to him, and such as he was under no principles of religion ; for Abram commanded his household to obligation to at all; nay, though they were Sodomites, sinners keep the way of the Lord. This shows that Abram was, 1. before the Lord exceedingly, and though, probably, he might A great man, who had so many servants depending upon him, have recovered Lot alone by ransom; yet he brought back all and employed by him ; which was not only his strength and the women and the people, and their goods, v. 16. Note, As honour, but gave him a great opportunity of doing good, which we have opportunity, we must do good to all men. Our charity is all that is truly valuable and desirable in great places and must be extensive, as opportuni offers itself. Wherever God great estates. 2. A good man, who not only served God him-gives life, we must not grudge the help we can give to support self, but instructed all about him in the service of God. Note, it. God does good to the just and unjust, and so must we, Those that have great families, have not only many bodies, but Matt. 5. 45. This victory which Abram obtained over the many souls beside their own, to take care of and provide for. kings, the prophet seems to refer to, ls. 41. 2, Who raised Those that would be found the followers of Abram, must see up the righteous man from the east, and made him rule over that their servants be catechised servants. 3. A wise man; for kings? And some suggest that as before, he had a title to this though he was a man of peace, yet he disciplined his servants land by grant, so now, by conquest. for war, not knowing what occasion he might have, some time V. 17–20. This paragraph begins with the mention of the or other, so to employ them. Note, Though our holy religion respect which the king of Sodom paid to Abram, at his return teaches us to be for peace, yet it does not forbid us to provide from the slaughter of the kings; but before a particular account for war.
is given of that, the story of Melchizedek is briefly related. III. His allies and confederates in this expedition. He pre-Concerning whom, observe, vailed with his neighbours, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, (with I. Who he was. He was king of Salem and priest of the whom he kept up a fair correspondence,) to go along with him. most high God; and other glorious things are said of him, It was his prudence thus to strengthen his own troops with Heb. 7. 1, &c. 1. The rabbins, and most of our rabbinical their auxiliary forces; and, probably, they saw themselves con- writers, conclude that Melchizedek was Shem the son of cerned, in interest, to act, as they could, against this formida- Noah, who was king and priest to those that descended from ble power, lest their own turn should be next. Note, 1. It is him, according to the patriarchal model. But this is not at all our wisdom and duty to behave ourselves so respectfully and probable; for why should his name be changed? And how obligingly towards all men, as that, whenever there is occasion, came he to settle in Canaan? 2. Many Christian writers they may be willing and ready to do us a kindness. 2. Those have thought that this was an appearance of the son of God who depend on God's help, yet, in times of distress, ought to himself, our Lord Jesus, known to Abram, at this time, by this make use of inen's help, as Providence offers it ; else they name, as, afterward, Hagar called him by another name, tempt God.
ch. 16. 13. He appeared to him as a righteous king, owning IV. His courage and conduct were very remarkable. 1. a righteous cause, and giving peace. It is hard to think that There was a great deal of bravery in the enterprise itself, con- any mere man should be said to be without fulher, without sidering the disadvantages he lay under. What could one mother, and without descent, having neither beginning of days, family of husbandmen and shepherds do against the armies of nur end of life, Heb. 7. 3. It is witnessed of Melchizedek, that four princes, who now came fresh from blood and victory ? It he liveth, and ihat he abideth a priest continually, v. 3, 8; nay, was not a vanquished, but a victorious army, that he was to v. 13, 14, ihe apostle makes him of whom these things are spoken, pursue ; nor was he constrained by necessity to this daring to be our Lord who sprang out of Judah. It is likewise hard attempt, but moved to it by generosity ; so that, all things con- to think that any mere man should, at this time, be greater sidered, it was,
for aught I know, as great an instance of true than Abram in the things of God, and that Christ should be a courage as ever Alexander or Cæsar was celebrated for. Note, priest after the order of any mere man, and that any human Religion tends to make men, not cowardly, but truly valiant priesthood should so far excel that of Aaron as it is certain The righteous is bold as a lion. The true Christian is the true ihat Melchizedek's did. 3. The most received opinion is, that hero. 2. There was a great deal of policy in the management Melchizedek was a Canaanite prince, that reigned in Salem, of it. Abram was no stranger to the stratagems of war; he and kept up the true religion there ; but if so, why he should divided himself, as Gideon did his little army, Judg. 7. 16, that occur here only in all the story of Abram, why Abram should he might come upon the enemy from several quarters at once, have altars of his own, and not attend the altars of his neighand so make his few seem a great many; he made his attack bour Melchizedek who was greater than be, seems unacby night, that he might surprise them. Note, Honest policy is countable. Mr. Gregory of Oxford tells us, that the Arabic a good friend both to our safety, and to our usefulness. The Catena, which he builds much upon the authority of, gives this serpent's head (provided it be nothing akin to the old serpent) account of Melchizedek: That he was the son of Heraclim, may well become a good Christian's body, especially if it' have the son of Peles, the son of Eber, and that his mother's name a dove's eye in it, Matt. 10. 16.
was Salathiel, the daughter of Gomer, the son of Japheth, the V. His success was very considerable, v. 15, 16. He son of Noah. defeated his enemies, and rescued his friends; and we do not II. What he did. 1. He brought forth bread and wine, for find that he sustained any loss. Note, Those that venture the refreshment of Abram and his soldiers, and in congratulain a good cause, with a good heari, are'under the special pro- tion of their victory. This he did as a king, teaching us to tection of a good God, and have reason to hope for a good issue. do goed and to communicate, and to be given to hospitality, Again, It is all one with the Lord to save by many or by few, according to our ability; and representing the spiritual provi1 Sam. 14. 6. Observe,
sions of strength and comfort which Christ has laid up for us 1. He rescued his kinsman; twice here he is called his in the covenant of grace for our refreshment, when we are brother Lot; the remembrance of the relation that was between wearicd with our spiritual conflicts. 2. As priest of the most them, both by nature and grace, made him forget the little quar- high God, he blessed Abram, which we may suppose a greater rel that had been between them, in which Lot had by no means refreshment to Abram than his bread and wine were.
Thus acted well towards Abram. Justly might Abram have up-1 God, having raised up his son Jesus, has sent him to bless
20 And blessed be the most high God, which
CHAPTER XV. hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And
In this chapter, we have a solemn treaty between God and Abram, concerning a he gave him "tithes of all.
covenant that was to be established betwecu them. In the former chapter, we 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, haul Abram in the field with kin, bere in the mount with God, and though there
helake great, yet, methink, bere he luuks much greater that honour bave the Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. great men of the world, but thia honour have all the sainte. The covenant w be
settled between God and Abram, was a covenant of promines, accordingly, here 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I whave
is, I. A general asaunauce of God's kindness and good will to Abram, v. 1. 11. A litt up mine hand unto the Lord, the inost high particular declaration of the purposes of his love concerning him, in two things :
1. That he would give him a numerous issue, v.26. 2. That he would give him God, the "possessor of heaven and earth,
Canaan for an inheritance, v. 7-21. Either an estate without an heir, or an heir 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a without an estate, would have been but a half comfort to Auram. But God ensures
both to him; and that which made these two, the promised seed, and the promised shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing that land, comforts indeed to this grea! believer, was, that they were both typical of
those two invaluable blessings, Christ and heaven; and so, we have reason lo is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made
think, Abram eyed then. Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with came unto Abram in a «vision, saying, "Fear me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre ; let them take their not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding portion.
dgreat reward. • Heb.7.1-10.
y Ex. 6.8. $ v. 19. c. 21. 23. y Esth. 9. 15, 16. b Luke 1. 13. c Deut. 33. 29. Ps. 3. 3. 84. 11. 91.4. 119. 114. Prov. 30.5. d Ps. : 1 Tim. 5. 18. & c. 46.2. Num. 12. 6. Dan. 10. 1. Acta 10. 11, 22.
112. 5. Lam. 3. 24. Heb. 13. 5. us, as one having authority; and those whom he blesses, are 1 John 5, 4. What are all the ornaments and delights of sense blessed indeed. Christ went to heaven when he was blessing to one that has God and heaven ever in his eye? He resolves his disciples, Luke 24, 51, for that is it which he ever lives to do. even to a thread and a shoe-latchet; for a tender conscience fears
III. What he said, v. 19, 20. Two things were said by offending in a small matter. him, 1. He blessed Abram from God, v. 19, Blessed be Abram, Now, 1. Abram ratifies this resolution with a solemn oath. blessed of the most high God. Observe the titles he here gives I have lift up mine hand to the Lord, that I will not take any to God, which are very glorious : (1.) The most high God, thing, v.22. Here observe, (1.) The titles he gives to God, The which bespeaks his absolute perfections in himself
, and his most high God, the Possessor of heaven and earth, the same that sovereign dominion over all the creatures; he is King of kings. Melchizedek had just now used, v. 19. Note, It is good to Note, It will greatly help both our faith and our reverence in learn of others how to order our speech concerning God, and prayer, to eye God as the most high God, and to call him so. to imitate those who speak well in divine things. This im(2.) Possessor of heaven and earth, that is, rightful Owner, provement we are to make of the conversation of devout good and sovereign Lord of all the creatures; because he made men, we must learn to speak after them. (2.) The ceremony them. This bespeaks him a great God, and greatly to be used in this oath, I have lift up my hand. In religious swearpraised, Ps. 24. 1, and them a happy people who have an ing we appeal to God's knowledge of our truth and sincerity, interest in his favour and love. ?. He blessed God for Abram, and imprecate his wrath if we swear falsely; the lifting up of v. 20, and blessed be the most high God. Note, (1.) In all our the hand is very significant and expressive of both. (3.) The prayers we must praise God, and join Hallelujahs with all matter of the oath, namely, that he would not lake any reward our Hosannahs. These are the spiritual sacrifices we must from the king of Sodom, was lawful, but what he was not anteoffer up daily, and upon particular occasions. (2.) God, as the cedently obliged to.  Probably, Abram vowed, before he most high God, must have the glory of all our victories, Ex. went to the battle, that if God would give him success, he 17. 15. 1 Sam. 7. 10, 12. Judg. 5. 1, 2.2 Chr. 20, 21. In would, for the glory of God, and the credit of his profession, them he shows himself higher than our enemies, Ex. 18. 11, so far deny himself and his own right, as to take nothing of the and higher than we; for without him we could do nothing. spoils to himself. Note, The vows we have made when we (3.) We ought to give thanks for others' mercies as for our are in pursuit of a mercy, must be carefully and conscientiously own; triumphing with them that triumph. (4.) Jesus Christ, kept when we have obtained the mercy, though they were made our great High Priest, is the Mediator both of our prayers and against our interest. A citizen of Zion, if he has sworn, whepraises, and not only offers up our's, but his own for us. See ther it be to God or man, though it prove to his own hurt, yet Luke 10. 21.
he changeth not, Ps. 15. 4. Or, [2.] Perhaps Abram, now IV. What was done to him. Abram gave him tithes of all, when he saw cause to refuse the offer made him, at the that is, of the spoils, Heb. 7. 4. This may be looked upon, same time confirmed his refusal with this oath, to prevent 1. As a gratuity presented to Melchizedek, by way of return further importunity. Note, First, There may be good reason for his tokens of respect. Note, They that receive kindness sometimes why we should debar ourselves of that which is our should show kindness. Gratitude is one of nature's laws. undoubted right, as St. Paul, 1 Cor. 8. 13.-9. 12. Secondly, 2. As an offering vowed and dedicated to the most high God, That strong resolutions are of good use to put by the force of and therefore put into the hands of Melchizedek his priest. temptations. Note, (1.) When we have received some signal mercy from 2. He backs his refusal with a good reason, Lest thou God, it is very fit that we should express our thankfulness by shouldest say, I have made Abram rich ; which would reflect some special act of pious charity. God must always have his reproach, (1.) Upon the promise and covenant of God, as if dues out of our substance ; especially when, by any particular they would not have enriched Abram without the spoils of providence, he has either preserved or increased it to us. Sodom. And, (2.) Upon the piety and charity of Abram, (2.) That the tenth of our increase is a very fit proportion to as if all he had in his eye, when he undertook that hazardous be set apart for the honour of God, and the service of his sanc- expedition, was to enrich' himself. Note, (1.] We must be tuary. (3.) That Jesus Christ, our great Melchizedek, is to very careful that we give not occasion to others to say things hare homage done him, and to be humbly acknowledged by which they ought not. [2.] The people of God must, for their every one of us as our King and Priest; and not only the tithe credit's sake, take heed of doing any thing that looks mean or of all, but all we have, must be surrendered and given up to him. mercenary, or that savours of covetousness and self-seeking.
V. 21-24. We have here an account of what passed Probably, Abram knew the king of Sodom to be a proud and between Abram and the king of Sodom, who succeeded him scornful man, and one that would, though most unreasonably, that fell in the batile, v. 10, and thought himself obliged to do be apt to turn such a thing as this to his reproach afterward; this bonour to Abram, in return for the good services he had when we have to do with such men, we have need to act with done him.
particular caution. Here is,
3. He limits his refusal with a double proviso, v. 24. In I. The king of Sodom's grateful offer to Abram, v. 21, Give making vows, we ought carefully to insert the necessary exme the soul, and take thone the substance : so the
Hebrew'reads ceptions, that we may not afterward say before the angel, il. Here he fairly begs the persons, but as freely bestows the It was an error, Ec. 5. 6. Abram here excepts, (1.) The grands on Abram. Note, i. Where a right is dubious and food of his soldiers; they were worthy of their meat while they divided, it is wisdom to compound the matter by mutual con trod out the corn. This would give no colour to the king of cessions rather than to contend. The king of Sodom had Sodom to say that he had enriched Abram. (2.) The shares an original right both to the persons and to the goods, and it of his allies and confederates. Let them take their portion. would bar a debate whether Abram's acquired right hy rescue Note, Those who are strict in restraining their own liberty, yet would supersede his title, and extinguish it; but, to prevent all ought not to impose those restraints upon the liberties of others, quarrels, the king of Sodom makes this fair proposal. 2. Gra nor to judge of ihem accordingly; we must not make ourselves titude teaches us to recompense to the vimost of our power the standard to measure others by. A good man will deny himthose that have tolergone faligues, run hazards, and been at self that liberty which he will not deny another, contrary to the expense, for our service and benefits Who goes a warfare at practice of the Pharisees, Matt. 23. 4. There was not the his own chorges? 1 Cor. 9.7. Soldiers purchase their pay same reason why Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, should quit their dearer than any labourers, and are well worthy of it, because right, that there was why Abram should.' They did not they expose their lives.
make the profession that he made, nor were they, as he was, II. Abram's generous refusal of this offer. He not only under the obligation of a vow; they had not the hopes thai resigned the persons to him, who, being delivered out of the Abram had of a portion in the other world, and therefore, by hand of their
enemies, ought to have served Abram, but he all means, let them tuke their portion of this. restored all the goods too. He would not take from a thread a shodochet, not the least thing that ever belonged to the
NOTER TO CHAPTER XV. king of Sedom of any of his. Note, A lively faith enables a V.1. Observe here, fran to look upon the wealth of this world with a holy contempt, 1. The time when God had this treaty with Abram; After VOL. 1.-10
( 73 )
e c. 30. 1.
19. 56. 5. Acls 7. 5.
S Prov. 29. 21.
& c. 17. 16.
Heb. 11. 12.
i Rom. 4. 18.
2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou that shall come forth out of thine sown bowels shal! give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of be thine heir. my house is this Eliezer of Damascus ?
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, "it'thou given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is be able to number them. And he said unto him, mine heir.
So shall thy seed be. 4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto 6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he it to him for righteousness.
h Deut. 1. 10.
Rom. 4. 3, 6, &c. Gal. 3. 6. Jam. 2. 23. these things. 1. After that famous act of generous charity which his house was Eliezer of Damascus ; to him he committed the Abram bad done, in rescuing his friends and neighbours out of care of his family and estate, who might be faithful, but only distress, and that, not for price nor reward; after that, God as a servant, not as a son. When he died, one born in his house made him this gracious visit. Note, Those that show favour would be his heir, and would bear rule over all thai for which he to men, shall find favour with God. 2. After that victory which had laboured, Ec. 2. 18, 19, 21. God had already told him he had obtained over four kings: lest Abram should be too much that he would make of him a great nation, ch. 12. 2, and his elevated and pleased with that, God comes to him, to tell him seed as the dust of the earth, ch. 13. 16, but he had left linn in he had better things in store for him. Note, A believing con- doubt whether it should be his seed begotten, or his seed adopied, verse with spiritual biessings is an excellent means to keep us by a son of his loins, or only a sor of his house. “Now, Lord,” from being too much taken up with temporal enjoyments. The says Abram, “if it be only an adopted son, it must be one of gifts of common providence are not comparable to those of my servants, which will retlect disgrace upon the promised covenant-love.
Seed, that is to descend from him." Note, While promised II. The manner in which God conversed with Abram; The mercies are delayed, our unbelief and impatience are apt to word of the Lord came unto Abram, that is, God manifested conclude them denied. himself and his will to Abram in a vision; which supposes 4. That the want of a son was so great a trouble to him, that Abram awake, and some visible appearance of the Shechinah, it took away the comfort of all his enjoyments. “Lord what or some sensible token of the presence of the divine glory. will thou give me? All is nothing to me, if I have not a son. Note, The methods of divine revelation are adapted to our Now (1.) If we suppose that Abram looked no further than a state in a world of sense.
temporal comfort, his complaint was culpable. God had, by his III. The gracious assurance God gave him of his favour to providence, given him some good things, and more by his prohim. 1. He called him by name, Abram, which was a great mise ; and yet Abram makes no account of them, because he honour to him, and made his name great, and was also a great
has not a son. It did very ill become the father of the faithful encouragement and assistance to his faith. Note, God's good to say, What wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless ? immeword then does us good, when it is spoken by his Spirit to us in diately after God had said, I am thy shield, and thy exceedling particular, and brought to our hearts. The word says, Ho, great reward. Note, Those do not rightly value the advantages every one, Is. 55. 1; the Spirit says, Ho, such a one. 2. He of their covenant-relation to God, and interest in him, who do cautioned him against being disquieted and confounded ; Fear not think it sufficient to balance the want of any creature comnot, Abram. Abram might fear lest the four kings he had fort whatever. But, (2.) If we suppose that Abram, herein, routed, should rally again, and fall upon him to his ruin ; "No," had an eye to the Promised Seed, the importunity of his desire says God, “Fear not. Fear not their revenges, nor thy neigh- was very commendable ; all was nothing to him if he had not bour's envy ; I will take care of thee.” Note, (1.) Where the earnest of that great blessing, and an assurance of his rethere is great faith, yet there may be many fears, 2 Cor. 7. 5. lation to the Messiah, which God had already encouraged him (2.) God takes cognizance of his people's fears though ever so to maintain the expectation. He has wealth, and victory, and secret, and knows their souls, Ps. 31. 7. (3.) It is the will of honour ; but, while he is kept in the dark about the main matter, God that his people should not give way to prevailing fears, it is all nothing to him. Note, Till we have some comfortable whatever happens. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid, but fear evidence of our interest in Christ and the new covenant, we not, Abram.
3. He assured him of safety and happiness; that should not rest satisfied with any thing else. “This, and the he should for ever be, (1.) As safe as God himself could keep other, I have ; but what will this avail me, if I go Christless ?" him; I am thy Shield, or, somewhat more emphatically, I am Yet thus far the complaint was culpable, that there was some a Shield to thee, present with thee, actually caring for thee. diffidence of the promise at the bottom of it, and a weariness See 1 Chr. 17. 24. Not only the God of Israel, but a God of waiting God's time... Note, True believers sometimes find to Israel. Note, The consideration of this, that God himself it hard to reconcile God's promises and his providences, when is, and will be, a Shield to his people to secure them from all they seem to disagree. desiructive evils, and a Shield ready to them, and a Shield II. God's gracious answer to this complaint. To the first round about them, should be sufficient to silence all their per part of the complaint, (v. 2,) God gave no immediate answer, plexing tormenting fears. (2.) As happy as God himself could because there was something of fretfulness in it; but when he make him; I will be thy erceeding great Reward; not only thy renewed his address somewhat more calmly, (v. 3,) God anRewarder, but thy Reward. Abram had generously refused swered him graciously. Note, If we continue instant in prayer, the rewards which the king of Sodom offered him, and here and yet pray with a humble submission to the divine will, we God comes, and tells him he shall be no loser by it. Note, [1.] shall not seek in vain. 1. God gave him an express promise The rewards of believing obedience and self-denial, are ex of a son, v. 4. This that is born in thy house shall not be thine ceeding great, 1 Cor. 2. 9. (2.) God himself is the chosen and heir, as thou fearest, but one that shall come forth out of thine promised felicity of holy souls'; chosen in this world, promised own bowels shall be thine heir. Note. (1.) God makes heirs ; in a better. He is the portion of their inheritance, and their cup. he says, “This shall not, and this shall, whatever men devise
V. 2–6. We have here the assurance given to Abram of a and design in settling their estates, God's counsel shall stand. numerous offspring which should descend from him. In which, (2.) God is often better to us than our own fears, and gives the observe,
mercy we had long despaired of. 2. To affect him the more 1. Abram's repeated complaint, v. 2, 3. This was that which with surprise, he took him out, and showed him the stars, (this gave occasion to this promiso The great atfiction that sat vision being early in the morning before day,) and then iells heavy upon Abram, was the want of a child, and the com- him, So shall thy seed be, v. 5. (1.) So numerous, the stars plaint of this he here pours out before the Lord, and shows be- seem innumerable to a common eye: Abram feared he should fore him his trouble, Ps. 142. 2. Note, Though we must never have no child at all, but God tells him that the descendants from complain of God, yet we have leave to complain to him, and to his loins should be so many as not to be numbered. (2.) So be large and particular in the statement of our grievances; and illustrious, resembling the stars in splendour: for to them perit is some ease to a burdened spirit, to open its case to faith- tained the glory, Rom. 9. 4. Abram's seed, according to his ful and compassionate friend ; such a friend God is, whose ear flesh, were like the dust of the earth, (ch. 13. 16,) but his spi. is always open. Now his complaint is fourfold.
ritual seed are like the stars of heaven, not only numerous, but 1. That he had no child, v. 3, Behold, to me thou hast given glorious, and very precious. no seed ; not only no son, but no seed ; if he had had a daugh III. Abram's firm belief of the promise God now made him, ter, from her the promised Messiah might have come, who was and God's favourable acceptance of his faith, v. 6. 1. He brto be the seed of the woman ; but he had neither son nor daugh- liered in the Lord, that is, he believed the truth of that promise
He seems to lay an emphasis on that, lo me. His neigh- which God hadd now made him, resting upon the irresistible bours were full of children, his servants had children born power, and the inviolable faithfulness, of him that made it; in his house; “But to me," he complains, “thou hast given Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Note, Those none;" and yet God had told him he should be a favourite above who would have the confort of the promises, must mix faith all. Note, (1.) Those that are written childless, must see God with the promises. See how the apostle magnifies the faith of writing them so. (2.) God often withholds those temporal com- Abram, and makes it a standing example, Rom. 4. 19-21, He forts from his own children, which he gives plentifully to others was not weak in faith; he staggered not at the promise ; he was that are strangers to him.
strong in faith; he was fully persuadell. The Lord work such 2. That he was never likely to have any ; intimated in that, a faith in every one of us! Some think that bis believing in I go, or, “ I am going, childless, going into years, going down the Lord respected, not only the Lord promising, but the Lord the hili apace; nay, I am going out of the world, going the way promised, the Lord Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant. of all the earth. I die childless."
So the LXX. “I leave He believed in him, that is, received and embraced the divine the world, and leave no child behind me."
revelation concerning him, and rejoiced to see his day, though at 3. That his servants were, for the present, and were likely so great a distance, John 8. 56. 2. God counted it to him for to be to him, instead of sons. Whilo he lived, the steward of righteousnces; that is, upon the score of this he was accepted
Ex, 12. 36.
7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that 11 And when the fowls came down upon the brought the "out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give carcasses, Abram drove them away. thee this land to inherit it,
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep 8 And he said, Lord God, 'whereby shall I know sleep "fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great that I shall inherit it?
darkness fell upon him. 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and their's, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict a young pigeon.
Pthem four hundred years : 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve,
them in the midst, and laid each piece one against will I judge ; and afterward shall they come out another; but the birds divided he not.
with great substance. **.12.1. Juh. 6. 17. 2 Kings 20. 8. Luke 1. 18. ma Jer. 34. 18, 19. n Lev. 1. 17, o c. 2. 21. 1 Sam. 26. 12. Job 4. 13. p Ex. 12. 40. Ex. 6. 6. of God, and, as the rest of the patriarchs, by faith he obtained 10. 2 Kings 20. 8-10. Is. 7. 11, 12. 2. For the ratifying of the witness that he was righteous, Heb. 11. 1. This is urged in the promise to his posterity, that they also might be brought to the New Testament, to prove that we are justified by faith believe it. Note, Those that are satisfied themselves, should without the works of the law, (Rom. 4. 3. Gal. 3. 6;) for desire that others also might be satisfied of the truth of God's Abram was so justified, while he was yet uncircumcised. I promises. John sent his disciples to Christ, not so much for Abram, that was so rich in good works, was not justified by his own satisfaction as for their's, Matt. 11. 2, 3. Canaan was them, but by his faith, much less can we, that are so poor in a type of heaven. Note, It is a very desirable thing to know them. This faith, which was imputed to Abram for righteous that we shall inherit the heavenly Canaan, that is, to be confirmed ness, had lately struggled with unbelief, (v. 2,) and, coming in our belief of the truth of that happiness, and to have the off a conqueror, it was thus crowned, thus honoured. Note, evidences of our title to it more and more cleared up to us. A fiducial, practical acceptance of, and dependence upon, III. God directs Abram to make preparations for a sacrifice, God's promise of grace and glory, in and through Christ, is intending by that to give him a sign, and Abram makes pre pathat, which according to the tenor of the new covenant, gives ration accordingly, v. 9—11, Take me an heifer, g-c. Perhaps us a right to all the blessings contained in that promise. Au Abram expected some extraordinary sign from heaven; but believers are justified as Abram was, and it was his faith that God gives him a sign upon a sacrifice. Note, Those that was counted to him for righteousness.
would receive the assurances of God's favour, and would have V. 1-11. We have here the assurance given to Abram, of their faith confirmed, must attend instituted ordinances, and the land of Canaan for an inheritance.
expect to meet with God in them. Observe, 1. God appointed 1. God declares his purpose concerning it, v. 7. Observe that each of the beasts used for this service should be three here, Abram made no complaint in this matter, as he had done years old, because then they were at their full growth and for the want of a child. Note, Those that are sure of an inte strength. 'God must be served with the best we have, for he is rest in the Promised Seed, will see no reason to doubt of a title the best. 2. We do not read that God gave Abram particular to the promised land. If Christ is our's, heaven is our's. Ob-directions how to manage these beasts and fowls, knowing that serve, again, When he believed the former promise, (v. 6,) then he was so well versed in the and custom of sacrifices, that God explained and ratified this to him. Note, To him that has he needed not any particular directions ; or, perhaps, instruc(improves what he has) more shall be given. Three things tions were given him, which he carefully observed, though they God here reminds Abram of for his encouragement concerning are not recorded : at least, it was intimated to him, that they the promise of this good land.
must be prepared for the solemnity of ratifying a covenant; 1. What God is in himself: I am the Lord Jehovah ; and and he well knew the manner of preparing them. 3. Abram therefore, (1.) “I may give ii thee, for I am sovereign Lord of took as God appointed him, though as yet he knew not how all, and have a right to dispose of the wholo earth." (2.) “I these things should become a sign to him. This was not the can give it thee, whatever opposition may be made, though by first instance of Abram's implicit obedience. He divided the the sons of Anak.” God never promises more than he is able beasts in the midst, according to the ceremony used in conto perform, as men ofien do. (3.) “I will make good my pro- firming covenants, (Jer. 34. 18, 19,) where it is said, They cut mise to thee;" Jehovah is not a man that he should lie.
the calf in twain and passed between the parts. 4. Abranı having 2. What he had done for Abram: he had brought him out of prepared according to God's appointment, now set himself to Ur of the Chaldees, out of the fire of the Chaldees, so some, that wait for the sign God might give him by these, like the prophet is, (1.) From their idolatries ; for the Chaldeans worshipped upon his watchtower, Hab. 2. 1. While God's appearing to the fire: or, (2.) From their persecutions. The Jewish writers own his sacrifice was deferred, Abram continued waiting, and have a tradition that Abram was cast into a fery furnace for his expectations were raised by those delays ; when the souls refusing to worship idols, and was miraculously delivered. It came doun upon the carcasses to prey upon them, as common and is rather a place of that name. Thence God brought him by an neglected things, Abram drove them away, (v. 11,) believing effectual call; brought him with a gracious violence; snatched that the vision would, at the end, speak, and not lie. Note, A him as a brand out of the burning. This was, [1.] A special very watchful eye must be kept upon our spiritual sacrifices, mercy; "I brought thee, and left others, thousands, to perish that nothing be suffered to prey upon them, and render them there;" God called him alone, Is. 51. 2. (2.) A spiritual mer, unfit for God's acceptance. When vain thoughts, like these cy; a mercy to his soul, a deliverance from sin, and its fatal fowls, come down upon our sacrifices, we must drive them consequences, If God save our souls, we shall want nothing away, and not suffer ihem to lodge within us, but attend on God that is good for us. (3.) A fresh mercy ; lately bestowed, and without distraction. therefore should the mercy be affecting ; as that in the preface V. 12–16. We have here a full and particular discovery to the commandments, I am the Lord that brought thee out of made to Abram of God's purposes concerning his seed. Ob Egypt lately. (4.) A foundation mercy; the beginning of serve, mercy, peculiar mercy to Abram, and therefore a pledge of fur I. The time when God came to him with this discovery ; ther mercy, Is. 66. 9. Observe how God speaks of it as that when the sun was going down, or declining, about the time or which be gloried in, I am the Lord that brought thee out. He the evening oblation, 1 Kings 18. 36. Dan. 9. 21. Early in the glories in it as an act both of power and grace ; compare Is. morning, before day, while the stars were yet to be seen, God 29. 22, where he glorice in it, long afterward: Thus saith the had given him orders concerning the sacrifices, (v. 5,) and we Lad who redeemed Abram, redeemed him from sin.
may suppose it was, at least his morning's work to prepare 3. What he intended to do yet further for him ; " I brought them and set them in order ; when he had done this, he abode thee hither, on purpose to give thee this land to inherit it, not by them, praying and waiting till towards evening. Note, God only to possess it, but to possess it as an inheritance, which is often kceps his people long in expectation of the comforts he the sweetest and surest title." Nole, (1.) The providence of designs them, for the confirmation of their faith : but though God has secret but gracious designs in all its various dispensa- the answers of prayer, and the performance of pronises.come tions toward good people ; we cannot conceive the projects of slowly, yet they come surely ; at evening time it shall be light. providence, till the event shows them in all their mercy and II. The preparatives for this discovery ; 1. A deep sleep fell glory. (2.) The great thing God designs in all his dealings upon Abram, not a common sleep through weariness or care, with his people, is, to bring them safe to heaven. They are lessness, but'a divine ecstasy, like that which the Lord God chosen to satrution, (2 Thes. 2. 13,) called to the kingdom, caused to fall upon Adam, (ch. 2. 21,) that being hereby wholly (1. Thes. 2. 12,) begotten to the inheritance, (1 Pet. 1. 3, 4,) taken off from the view of things sensible, he might be wholly and by all male meel for it, Col. 1. 12, 13. 2 Cor. 4. 17. taken up with the contemplation of things spiritual. The doors
II. Abram desires a sign, v. 8, Whereby shall I know that I of the body were locked up, that the soul might be private and shall inherit it? This did not proceed from distrust of God's retired, and might act the more freely, and like itself. 2. With power, or promise, as that of Zacharias ; but he desired this, this sleep, a horror of great darkness fell upon him ; a sudden 1. For the strengthening and confirming of his own faith ; he change!" But just before, we had him solacing himself in the believed, (v. 6,) but here he prays, Lord, help me against my comforts of God's covenant, and in communion with him : and unbelief. Now he believed, but he desired a sign to be trea- here a horror of great darkness falls upon him. Note, The sured up against an hour of temptation, not knowing how his children of light do not always walk in the light, but sometimes Note, We all need, and should desire; helps from heaven for ness, which brought horror with it, was designed, (1.) To the confirming of our faith, and should improve sacraments, strike an awe upon the spirit of Abram, and to possess him which are instituted signs for that purpose. See Judg. 6. 36" with a holy reverence, that the familiarity which Ciod was
& c. 25.8. Job 5. 26. Matt. 23. 32. 1 Thes. 2. 16.
15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come and *a burning lamp that passed between those hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not pieces.
18 In that same day the Lord made a covenant
a lamp of fire. pleased to admit him to, might not breed contempt. Note, seed of Abram must be kept out of possession. Note, (1.) Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; the spirit of bondage The measure of sin fills gradually : those that continue impenimakes way for the spirit of adoption. God wounds first, and then tent in wicked ways, are treasuring up unto themselves wrath. heals ; humbles first, and then lifts up, Is. 6. 5, 6. (2.) To be (2.) Some people's measure of sin fills slowly. The Sodoma specimen of the methods of God's dealings with his seed; ites, who were sinners before the Lord exceedingly, soon they must first be in the horror and darkness of Egyptian sla- filled their measure ; so did the Jews, who were in profession very, and then enter with joy into the good land ; and therefore near to God; but the iniquity of the Amorites was long in the he must have the foretaste of their sufferings, before he had the filling up. (3.) That this is the reason of the prosperity of foresight of their happiness. (3.) To be an indication of the wicked people; the measure of their sins is not yet full. The nature of that covenant of peculiarity which God was now wicked live, become old, and are mighty in power, while God is about to make with Abram. The Old Testament dispensation, laying up their iniquity for their children, Job 21. 7, 19. See which was founded on that covenant, was a dispensation, [1.] Matt. 23. 32. Deut. 32. 34. of darkness and obscurity, 2 Cor. 3. 13. (2.) or dread and 5. Abram's peaceful quiet death and burial, before these horror, Heb. 12. 18, &c.
things should come to pass, v. 15. As he should not live to III. The prediction itself ; several things are here foretold. see that good land in the possession of his family; but must
1. The suffering state of Abram's seed for a long time, v. die as he lived, a stranger in it; so, to balance that, he should 13. Let not Abram fatter himself with the hopes of nothing not live to see the troubles that sho come upon his seed, but honour and prosperity in his family ; no, he must know of much less to share in them. This is promised to Josian, 2 a surety, that which he was loath to believe, that the promised Kings 22.20. Note, Good men are sometimes greatly favoured seed should be a persecuted seed. Note, (1.) God sends the by being taken away from the evil to come, Is. 57. 1. Let this worst first; we must first suffer and then reign. (2.) He lets satisfy Abram, thal, for his part, (1.) He shall go to his fathers us know the worst before it comes, that when it comes, it may in peace. Noie, (1.) Even the friends and favourites of Heanot be a surprise to us, John 16. 4. Now we have here, (1.) ven are not exempt from the stroke of death; Are ue greater The particulars of their sufferings. First, They shall be stran- than our father Abram which is dead? John 8. 53. [2.] Good gers; so they were, first in Canaan, Ps. 105. 12, and afterward men die willingly; they are not fetched, they are not forced, but in Egypt : before they were lords of their own land, they were they go; their soul is not required, as his, Luke 12. 20, but strangers in a strange land. The inconveniences of an unset- cheerfully resigned: they would not live always. (3.) At tled state, make a happy settlement the more welcome. Thus death we go to our fathers, to all our fathers that are gone bethe heirs of heaven are, first, strangers on earth, a land that is fore us to the state of the dead, Job 21. 32, 33, to our godly not their's. Secondly, They shall be servants ; so they were to fathers that are gone before us to the state of the blessed, Heb. the Egyptians, Ex. 1. 13. See how that which was the doom 12. 23. The former thought helps to take off the terror of of the Canaanites, ch. 9. 25, proves the distress of Abram's death, the latter puts comfort into it. [4. Whenever a godly seed; they are made to serve, but with this difference, the man dies, he dies in peace. If the way be piety, the end is Canaanites serve under a curse, the Hebrews under a blessing; peace, Ps. 37. 37. Outward peace, to the last, is promised to and the upright shall have dominion in the morning, Ps. 49. 14. Abram; peace and truth in his days, whatever should come
Thirdly, They shall be sufferers. Those whom they serve, after, 2 Kings 20. 19. Peace with God, and everlasting peace, shall afflict them; see Ex, 1. 11. Note, Those that are blessed are sure to all the seed. (2.) He shall be buried in a good olá and beloved of God, are often sorely afflicted by wicked men ; age. Perhaps mention is made of his burial here, where the and God foresees it, and takes cognizance of it. [2.] The con land of Canaan is promised him, because a burying place was tinuance of their sufferings; four hundred years. This perse- the first possession he had in it. He shall not only die in peace, cution began with mocking, when Ishmael, the son of an Egyp- but die in honour, die, and be buried decently; not only' die in tian, persecuted Isaac, who was born after the spirit, ch. 21.9. peace, but die in season, Job 5. 25, 26. Note, (i.) Old age is a Gal. 4. 29. It continued in loathing; for it was an abomination blessing; it is promised in the filth commandinent; it is pleasto the Egyptians to eat bread with the Hebrews, ch. 43. 32, and ing 19 nature; and a great opportunity of usefulness ; (2.) Esit came, at last, to murder, the basest of murders, that of their pecially if it be a good old age : their's may be called a good new-born children; so that more or less, it continued 400 years, old age, First, That are old and healthful, not loaded with such though in extremity not so many. This was a long time, but distempers as make them weary of life; Secondly, That are a limited time.
old and holy, old disciples, Acts 21. 16, whose hoary head is 2. The judgment of the enemies of Abram's seed, v. 14, That found in the way of righteousness, Prov. 16. 31, old and useful, nation whom they shall serve, even the Egyptians, will I judge. old and exemplary for godliness; their's is indeed a good old age. This points at the plagues of Egypt, by which God not only con V. 17-21. Here is, strained the Egyptians to release Israel, but punished them for I. The covenant ratified, v. 17; the sign which Abram deall the hardships they had put upon them. Note, (1.) Though sired, was given at length, when the sun was gone down, so God may suffer persecutors and oppressors to trample upon his that it was dark; for that was a dark dispensation. people a great while, yet he will certainly reckon with them at 1. The smoking furnace signified the affiction of his seed in last; for his day is coming, Ps. 37. 12, 13. (2.) The punish- Egypt; they were there in the iron furnace, Deut. 4. 20, the ment of persecutors is the judging of them; it is a righteous furnace of affliction, Is. 48. 10, labouring in the very fire. They thing with God, and a particular act of justice, to recompense were there in the smoke, their eyes darkened, that they could tribulations to those that trouble his people. The judging of the not see to the end of their troubles, and they at a loss to conchurch's enemies is God's work. I will judge : God can do it, ceive what God would do with them; clouds and darkness were for he is the Lord; he will do it, for he is his people's God, and round about them. he has said, Vengeance is mine, I will repay. To him there 2. The burning lamp denotes comfort in this affliction; and fore we must leave it, to be done in his way and time.
this God showed Abram, at the same time that he showed him 3. The deliverance of Abram's seed out of Egypt; that great the smoking furnace. (1.) Light denotes deliverance out of event is here foretold, Afterward, shall they come out with great the furnace; their salvation was as a lamp that burneth, Is. 62.1. substance. It is here promised, (1.) That they shall be en When God came down to deliver them, he appeared in a bush larged; afterward, they shall come out, that is, either, after that burned, and was not consumed, Ex. 3.2. (2.) The lamp they have been afficted 400 years, when the days of their ser- denotes direction in the smoke; God's word was their lamp ; vitude are fulfilled, then they may expect deliverance; or, after this word to Abram was so, it was a light shining in a dark the Egyptians are judged and plagued. Note, The destruction place; perhaps this burning lamp prefigured the pillar of cloud of oppressors is the redemption of the oppressed ; they will not and fire, which led them out of Egypt, in which God was. let God's people go, till they are forced to it. (2.) That they (3.) The burning lamp denotes the destruction of their enemies should be enrichel; they shall come out with great substance, who kept them so long in the surnace: see Zech. 12. 6. The this was fulfilled, Ex. 12. 35, 36. God took care they should same cloud that enlightened the Israelites, troubled and burned have, not only a good land to go to, but a good stock to bring the Egyptians. with them.
3. The passing of these between the pieces, was the confirm4. Their happy settlement in Canaan, v. 16. They shall not ing of the covenant God now made with him, that he might only come out of Egypt, but they shall come hither again, hither have strong consolation, being fully persuaded that what God to the land of Canaan, wherein thou now art. The discontinu- promised, he would certainly perform. It is probable tha: this ance of their possession shall be no deseasance of their right; furnace and lamp, which passed between the pieces, burned we must not reckon those comforts lost for ever, that are inter- and consumed them, and so completed the sacrifice, and testimitted for a time. The reason why they must not have the fied God's acceptance of it, as of Gideon's, Judg. 6. 21, Maland of promise in possession till the fourth generation, is, noah's, Judg. 13. 19, 20, and Solomon's, 2 Chr. 7. 1. So it because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. Israel intimates, (i.) That Gol's covenants with man are made by cannot be possessed of Canaan, till the Amorites be dispos- sacrifice, Ps. 50.5; by Christ, the great Sacrifice: no agreesessed ; and they are not yet ripe for ruin. The righteous ment without atonement. (2.) God's acceptance of our spiritual God has determined that they shall not be cut off, çill they have sacrifices, is a token for good, and an earnest of further favours : persisted in sin so long, and arrived at such a pitch of wicked- see Judg. 13. 23. And by this we may know that he accepts ness, that there may appear some equitable proportion between our sacrifices, if he kindle in our souls a holy fire of pious and their sin and their ruin ; and therefore till it come to that, the devout affections in them.