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4 And the sons of Javan ; I'lishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and 'Dodamim. 5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. 6 *| And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
8 And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LoRD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was * Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. ll Out of that land * went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and “the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Cap.htorim. 15 " And Canaan begal * Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite; and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto "Gaza ; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. 21 "I Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and 'Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23 And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24 And Arphaxad begat "Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25 And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was "Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. 26 And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah,
As all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, all is profitable for instruction. Even those parts which contain the names and genealogies of men, as in the chapter before us, may be improved for our good. Indeed, we should never pass over any part of God's Word without seeking to obtain some blessing, and some improvement. Let us, then, examine these generations of Noah ; and since we are told, at the end of the chapter, that “by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood,” we must look somewhere for our own descent, and see in what line we stand. Ham was cursed, and all his descendants. Shem was blessed. Japheth was to be enlarged, and dwell in the tents of Shem, and partake of that blessing. To which, then, of Noah's sons do we belong Ham's race is described from verse 6 to 20. There were Babel and Nineveh, the nations of Canaan, and Sodom and Gomorrah, all to be destroyed. Blessed be God, we are not there. Of Shem, it is said, he was the father of all the children of Eber; from whom, it is stated in the next chapter, Abraham and his posterity were descended. That is not the line of our natural descent. Japheth remains; by his descendants the isles of the Gentiles were divided in their lands; and here we find our proper place. The blessing was first pronounced on Shem. God promised that he would enlarge or persuade Japheth, bring him into Shem's tent, and make him partaker of Shem's blessing. Oh wonderful prediction' Oh! precious promise ! Salvation was first “of the Jews” (John iv.22), and first proclaimed to them; but they rejected the Saviour and refused his love. The tent of Shem was empty, and Japheth stepped in, and gained the blessing. Oh! what astonishing mystery of love | From the very beginning it was the purpose of God that “the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel.” (Eph. iii. 6.) Oh! then let us feel for the poor benighted descendants of Shem; and now that we are in their tent, sitting under their vine, and partaking of their blessing, let us seek to bring them back to their tent again, that we may love and dwell together as brethren in the same Lord, and partakers of the same salvation. Take notice, also, of the order in which the sons of Noah are now mentioned. First, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and then Japheth, Ham, and Shem. This is not owing to any contradiction or derangement in the sacred
record. Inspired testimony is always infallible. Is it, then, the order of nature, or of grace : Probably both. The first, the order
of nature; the second, the order of grace. Grace makes the younger to become the elder, or as our Lord speaks, the last first, and the first last. (Matt. xix. 30.) Or it may be, that the Spirit foreseeing the rejection of Christ by the seed of Shem, and how that Saviour would be welcomed by the race of Japheth, puts Japheth as the first born, and Shem as the younger, and unites both as partakers of the same blessing. And we find the devoted race of Ham placed between the two, possibly because the seed of Japheth and Shem should seek the welfare of Ham's wretched race, and unite and strive together for their good. But there are some names in this catalogue that should fill the mind with salutary alarm. Babel was to be destroyed in after ages, and Nineveh swept away. The nations of Canaan would be cut off; and Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, perish by fire and brimstone from heaven. And why Because of their sins, the cry of which would reach up to heaven, and bring down the threatened doom in its appointed season. Let sinners repent of their sins and seek the divine forgiveness; then the blessing of Shem, and the enlarged heart of Japheth, will form the
pleasing tokens of being delivered from wrath, and saved with an everlasting salvation, through Christ the Lord.
CIHAPTER XI. 1 One language in the world. 3 The building of Babel. 5 The confusion of tongues. 10 The generations of Shem. 27 The generations of Terah the father of Abram. 31 Terah goeth from Ur to Haran. ND the whole earth was of one language, and of one * speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed * from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And “they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and * burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LoRD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called "Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. 10 * These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: 13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: 15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. 20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: 21 And Reu lived after he 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 nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: 25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an 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 them wives: 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 forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. (1) Heb. lip.
(2) Heb, words. (3) Or, eastward,
(4) Heb, a man said to his neigh
our. (5) Heb. burn them to a burning. (6) That is, Confusion.
THREE points particularly claim our attention in this chapter: the building of Babel; the genealogy of Shem; and the first mention of the descent of Abram. What could have been the object of these men in their attempt to build the tower of Babel The undertaking of such a work must have had some object in view. There
can be no doubt that a vain-glorious reputation lay at the bottom of the design (v. 4). To get them a name, and to prevent their being dispersed abroad, is here openly avowed as the object they had in contemplation. Possibly there may be something more connected with this design. When they planned the scheme of building a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, they might also have secretly intended to set God at defiance, in case of a recurrence of the deluge, by placing themselves out of the reach of danger; so that even such a visitation might not touch them. In either case the design was exceedingly impious and wicked. But are not many like these builders of Babel There is no object so eagerly sought by mankind in general as to get them a name in the earth; and to acquire a vain-glorious distinction among men. Some, indeed, are so daring, as to imagine they can elude the wrath of the Almighty, and put themselves out of danger, though they provoke his displeasure. They think the top of their tower may reach unto heaven. And others, again, resemble the builders of Babel in respect of their own works and deservings. They think they can merit heaven by their own duties, and build their self-righteous tower so high, that they may at last step from the top into heaven, and be safe for ever. Thus, all these characters, and many more, build their tower, and cherish their hopes: but their edifice is a Babel, and the end is confusion. The world can never satisfy the wants of the soul. The vengeance of heaven finds out the daring sinner at last: and when it is too late, the poor self-righteous, self-deluded man finds that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified” before God. (Rom. iii. 30.) In all such instances the attempt is defeated, and the result is disappointment, vexation, misery, and woe. Ah! when will men be wise When will they learn that nothing but the blood of Christ, the favour of God, and an interest in the heavenly inheritance, can afford safety or happiness here or hereafter Men that seek not these blessings may learn their character and see their end at Babel: they are “written in the earth” (Jer. xvii. 13), and they perish in their own impious attempts and wretched delusions. Better be found in the line of predicted blessings, than be numbered with those that perish. A name and a place in the registers of heaven will be a far better portion, than to be found among those whose “god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philip. iii. 19.) The hope springing from the faith of Christ, and the prospect of heaven, will never deceive the happy possessor, nor end in disappointment. Seek those blessings, and all will be well. To be “blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal. iii. 9) is to be blessed indeed In that line the promise runs; from that stock the Redeemer sprung; and “blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Ps. ii. 12.)
1 God calleth Abram, and blesseth him with a promise of Christ. 4 He departeth with Lot from Haran. 6 He journeyeth through Canaan, 7 which is promised him in a vision. 10 He is driven by a famine into Egypt. 11 Fear maketh him feign his wife to be his sister. 14 Pharaoh, having taken her from him, by plagues is compelled to restore her.
OW the LoRD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew 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: 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 had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 *| And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LoRD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar
unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the LoRD. 9 And Abram journeyed, 'going on still toward the south. 10 *| And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife : and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14 " And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the LoRD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18 And Pharoah called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me * why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife 2 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
(1) Heb. in going and journeying.
SoME mention was made of Abram in the latter part of the last chapter; and here we are presented with a more particular account of his call and blessing. Observe, first, his condition before his call took place. In another part of Scripture we are informed, that it was from the midst of prevailing idolatries he was taken by God, and made partaker of his blessing and salvation. (Josh. xxiv. 2.) But is not the conversion of every one that is saved an act of the most free grace on God's part, and the offspring of divine mercy and love alone : How truly must it be said of all the redeemed, “By grace are ye saved.” (Eph. ii. 8.) Abram's age, at the time of his call, is worthy of notice. He was seventy-five years old when the Lord thus visited him. How wonderful are the ways of God! Some are called in their youth; some live to a greater age before they know the Lord; and some, it is feared, are never converted at all. They die as they live, and perish in their sins, without hope or remedy. You should all pray for converting grace; and if you have obtained it, praise God for the blessing. But how will saving grace, or true faith, shew itself to be real Only by the effects which follow. Abram obeyed the calling and followed the direction given. What was the foundation of that action ? The promise of God believed, coupled with the blessing of God received. Do you believe the promise of the gospel Have you received the gospel blessing If so, you will imitate Abram. You will forsake your sins, and all your sinful ways, and you will follow the Lord fully. Whatever your age may be, whether young or old, you will love Christ more than all, and “count all things but loss” that you may “be found in him.” (Philip. iii. 8–11.) Take notice of this promise of the Redeemer (v. 2, 3). If it be asked, how can all the families of the earth be blessed in him, the reply is, that the blessing is to be found in the seed that sprung from Abram; mamely, Christ the Lord. All blessing is in him ; all salvation is from him; all that are blessed, and all that are saved, are blessed and saved by him alone. Take notice, also, of Abram's piety. True faith will be active ; it will cultivate communion with God, as well as realise salvation in Christ. Wherever he went, he built an altar unto God; and not only so, but he called on the name of the Lord. His religion was not a mere form, but a blessed reality. Prayer sprung from his faith, and gave utterance to his desires before a reconciled God. Are you like him 2 Is Christ your atonement? Do you pray to the Father through him And wherever you go, do you carry your religion with you? Can it be seen that Christ is your hope, and that you hold communion with God Such was the father of
the faithful. Can it be said that such are you, as his believing children : But who is without his faults “There is no man that sinneth not.” (1 Kings viii. 46.) Corruption ever lurks within the human breast, ready to break forth as temptation may arise. Behold Abram in Egypt. What unbelief, what weakness, yea, what sim does he display! and, but for the restraining power of God, what guilt might he have occasioned to others! Oh, take heed Guard against forbidden paths; avoid Egypt. Never prevaricate; never commit sin under a seeming statement of truth; never teach others to tell a lie, in order to escape an imaginary danger; above all, never follow the bent of your own natural will. Trust the God of your salvation in all difficulties. “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2 Tim. ii. 19.) God never told Abram to go down into Egypt; he went of his own accord. God never left him there, though he had dishonoured his holy name. Keep close to God, for counsel as well as for blessing. He will teach you the way you should go, and keep you from all evil.
1 Abram and Lot return out of Egypt. 7 By disagreement they part asunder, 10 Lot goeth to wicked Sodom. 14 God reneweth the promise to Abram. 18. He removeth to Hebron, and there buildeth an altar. ND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; 4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. 5 *| And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle : and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee,