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admonition. Sooner or later, the wrath of God will come upon all the children of disobedience. Learn also your duty to pray earnestly for the souls around you, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth. The world is still Sodom. Your neighbourhood may be a Sodom. You may live in the midst of a Sodom. Can you behold these wicked multitudes, and not pity and pray for them : Besides, you may have some Lot among them; some one near and dear to you may be exposed to the fiery indignation. Do, then, as Abraham did; pity them, pray for them, pour forth your supplications for them. Who knows, but that God may hear your cries, and, in answer to your prayer for Christ's sake, grant you to see some or other among them as “a brand plucked out of the fire.” (Zech. iii. 2.)
1 Lot entertaineth turo angels. 4 The vicious Sodomites are - stricken with blindness. 12 Lot is sent for safety into the mountains. 18. He obtaineth leave to go into Zoar. 24 Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. 26 Lot's wife is a pillar of salt. 30 Lot ducelleth in a cave. 31 The incestuous original of Moab and Ammon. ND there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all might, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house ; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 || But before they lay down, the men of the city, eren the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Bold now, I have two daughters which
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have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, eren Lot, and came near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12 *| And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides 2 son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord ; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LoRD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15 "I And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which 'are here; lest thou be consumed in the *iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LoRD being merciful unto him : and they brought him forth, and set him without the CltW. # * And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one :) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have ac
cepted "thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called * Zoar. 23 * The sun was "risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the LoRD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 of But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27"| And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord : 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 29 || And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 30 " And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 84 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
IN this chapter we have an account of the awful manner in which the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the cities of the plain, with fire and brimstone from heaven. To shew his care for his poor servant Lot, and the righteous doom of those wicked places, several facts are here recorded. First, note the wickedness of Sodom. No one can read over the contents of this chapter without perceiving that the people of that place were ripe for ruin. Such unheard-of wickedness must not pass unpunished. For a long time, indeed, they had been “sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” (Gen. xiii. 13.) Fallen man, polluted as he is, would blush to mention the crimes in which they revelled with impious delight. Can we wonder that God arose to judgment? Can we wonder that he determined to sweep them off from the earth And ought not wicked men to lay this to heart? God will not wink at your crimes; you cannot provoke him with impunity. There is a certain limit, beyond which even divine forbearance will not last. And of what consequence is it by what means you are cut off, if you sink into hell at last? Pause, then, and consider your ways, before it be too late. Next observe the Lord's care for Lot. The same heavenly messengers, which before had intimated to Abraham what the Lord was about to do, now approach the gates of Sodom, as Lot sat in the entrance of the city, at the close of the day. These apparent strangers Lot receives, according to the custom of friendly hospitality. And after the men of the place had given renewed proofs of their abominable wickedness, these angels open to Lot the purpose of their coming ; and charge him to go forth and warm all those who were connected with him, of the coming doom. How was he regarded ? They did not believe his message, nor credit the warming. “He seemed as one that mocked unto his sonsin-law” (v. 14). Alas! it is painful to note the mournful fact, that Lot had suffered his children to form such unhallowed connexions with the wicked people of that abandoned place' But so it was. One sin leads to another. One false step leads to others; and God only can tell where the danger may end, or how the snare may be broken. Are not sinners in general much like these men of Sodom Who believes the testimony of God? Who hearkens to the warnings of his ministering servants : But there can be no more delay. If his sons-in-law will not leave the place, they must be left behind. The time is short. The judgment is ready to break forth. Lot must go at once. His wife and his daughters, with him, must instantly leave the place. They must all haste for their lives, to escape the impending ruin. He lingers | He is unwilling to go even now ! What! must he leave all behind ; all his cattle, riches, neighbours, friends Yes; all must be left behind! Oh, what a trial He is unequal for the effort. His steps falter . He is unwilling to move | Nor was it till the “men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters,” and, by a sort of gracious compulsion constrained him to go, that he abandoned the devoted city And then came down the fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed those places utterly. Alas, for the perverseness of human nature! Is not the sinner still unwilling to leave his sins, his wicked companions, and this wicked world, for the sake of Christ and his salvation ? Does he not hesitate and linger, time after time, though the wrath of God is before him And is it not always found, that this continues to be the case, till the Holy Spirit takes him by the hand, and leads him to Christ for salvation ? Happy the day when grace thus conquers the unwilling soul! Happy the man who is thus delivered from Sodom, and flees to the Rock of Salvation for safety
between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken ; for she is 'a man's wife.’ 4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation ? 5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the "integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. 6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. 7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. 10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing 11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. 12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. 14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell "where it pleaseth thee. 16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.
17 || So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
18 For the LoRD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.
(1) Heb. married to an husband. (2) Or, simplicity, or, sincerity. (3) Heb, as is good in thine eyes,
It is said in the last chapter, that when God overthrew the cities of the plain, He “remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow" (xix. 29). The deliverance was granted in answer to prayer; and the view of the destruction of those places must have led to more fervent supplication, and the increase of faith. But, passing over Lot's grievous fall immediately after his merciful deliverance, let us view the father of the faithful in the chapter before us. Has Abraham cause for which he might glory over his lapsed relative Alas! no. Both of them fall, though in different ways. Both prove that there is nothing in man but sin and corruption. Have we yet learned this lesson Can we say with the apostle, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing 2" (Rom. vii. 18.) If not, we do not know ourselves. We do not really know what we have done in time past; nor what we are capable of doing in time to come. The same fault before noticed in Abraham's character, we here see. Alas! what opposites are there in the same man! Strong confidence, and weak faith ! The father of the faithful evincing the most culpable timidity and unbelief ' What, could he not confide the care of his beloved wife to him who cared for their souls Why did he prevaricate See the result. The very thing he most of all dreaded, and which had been the snare which the tempter laid to entangle his unwary feet; and but for the graeious interposition of God, by not suffering Abimelech to touch her, none can tell what the consequences might have been. The least deviation from truth leads to sin. The path of uprightness and truth will always be found to be the path of safety. But in how many ways can God restrain
the heart of man | Sometimes by providential circumstances; at others, by force of conscience; and, as here, in a dream or a vision of the night, he can seal instruction upon the mind, and keep man from his purpose. Indeed, whatever restrains men from sin, ought to be regarded as a great mercy; and, where the fear of the Lord is, it will be so improved. But it is a humiliating consideration, when one, who ought to be a pattern for others, has been tempted to do wrong, and is reproved by another who by that fault has been unwittingly led into sin. And whenever the female character is so lost to a sense of propriety as to put wrong for right, where chastity and honour are at stake, it deservedly stands open to censure and rebuke. Thus, while Abimelech expostulated with Abraham for acting so ungenerously towards him, he reproved Sarah for sanctioning the deception. In all these respects, each had need to cry for mercy and forgiveness. And who, alas! has not abundant cause to do the same *
But what led to this false step on Abraham's part A hasty conclusion' He thought the fear of God was not in that place (v. 11); and that the people would not hesitate to kill him for the sake of his wife. In this he was wrong. The fear of God was in that place, and in the heart of one whom he least of all suspected of being endued with that blessing. And what does this fact teach us? Not to be too precipitate in drawing our conclusions respecting any place or any people. There may be much more that is favourable than, at first sight, we may be apt to conclude. There may be some who fear the Lord, where we think there may be none. Abraham was a stranger; and how could he know the state of the place We should seek to become more acquainted with people, before we decide so serious a question. Generally speaking, hasty conclusions are seldom right, and they always open the way for temptation, and give the enemy some decided advantage over us. Let us learn to watch and pray; let us always adhere to the truth. Never tell a lie. Commit yourself to the Lord's keeping; and he will preserve you from all evil, both in body and soul, for ever.
1 Isaac is born. 4 He is circumcised. 6 Sarah's joy. 9 Hagar and Ishmael are cast forth. 15 Hayar in distress. 17 The angel comforteth her. 22 Abimelech's covenant with Abraham at Beer-sheba.
A” the LoRD visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac o eight days old, as God had commanded 1111. 5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 *| And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck for I have born him a son in his old age. 8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9 || And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, eren with Isaac. 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12 *| And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee,
Hagar fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Param: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. 22 *| And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: 23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24 And Abraham said, I will swear. 25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. 26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. 27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. 28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven eve lambs which thou hast set by themselves 2 30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. 31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them. 32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. 33 "[ And Abraham planted a "grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistimes' land many days.