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6. Let us revere this remainder of virtue in the Egyptian court. Pharaoh restored Sarai when he knew she was Abram's wife. Few christian princes would have been so tender: he would not have taken her, had he known who she was. Adultery is a most wicked and abominable sin; what Pharaoh would have been ashamed of committing; and it is strange that all professing christians do not consider it to be so. . 7. We learn not to be too suspicious of men's characters. Pharaoh and his courtiers were not so bad as Abram thought they were. We often find more honour and virtue among strangers, than we at first expected. Let us be on our guard against a te..nper that would lead us to suspect persons' characters without reason, and not fear where no fear is. We should believe the best we can ef every man. Charity hopcth all things, and belicv* <th all things. ,
8. Let us adore that wonderful providence that appeared for Abram. God appeared for him. remarkably; and, as it is ex?. pressed Psalm cv. 14. he reproved kings for his sake. He was dismissed in an honourable manner, and enriched with presents. The hearts of kings are in the hands of the Lord: this would be an. encouragement to Abram to trust him for the time to come; to act an honest, upright part, not doubting but God would appear for him. It was God, us Isaiah expresseth it, who raised up t/tis righteous man from the east < called him to his foot, to receive divine directions ; gave the nations. before him, and made him rule over kings. He can never be at a loss to reward the zeal and fidel? ity of those who follow him fully,.and are upright before him.
Abram returns to Canaan; the difference between him and Lot amicably settled; Lots removal to the plains of Sodom; God renews his promise to Abram ; who rr.noves to the plain of Mumre.
1 AND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, il and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south
2 of Canaan. And Abram, through the bounty of Pharaoh and the blessing of God, [was] very rich in cattle, in silver, and in
S gold.* A«d he went on in his journeys from the south even . tp Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the bcr
4 ginning, between Bethel and Ilai; Unto the place of the altar, which he made there at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord ; gratefully acknowledged his goodness in presen ing him in Egypt, and bringing Idm from
5 thence in greater affluence than he went thither. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and servants
£ dwelling in tents. And such was the increase of doth of them
•Sse Hjrmir'i ObservKians, Vol.t p. tat.
that the land was not able to bear them, did not afford food enough for so many fiocks and herds.* that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they cvukl not dwell together.' . , 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abrain's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle, probably about tome pai.t ture or water :f and the Canaanite and the Petizzite dwelled * then in the land, and took up the best pasturage. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we [be] brethren, both by nature and religion, and such contcn. tion will be a reproach to that religion, and expose us to danger. 9 [Is] not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if [thou wilt take] the left hand, then I wilt go to the right; or if [thou depart] to the right hand, then. I will go to the left. '.
10 And Lot accepted the kind and generous proposal of his uncier ! and lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it [was] well watered every where, before the Lobs destroyed Sodonr and Gomorrah, [even] as Eden the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto f 1 Zoar., all the way t 'M thou comest to Zoar. Then Lot chose for him self all the plain of Jordan ; and Lot journeyed east -r and thus they amicably separated themselves the one from
12 the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched [his] tent toward
13 Sodom ; a fruitful soil, but a wicked country. But the men -of Sodom [were] wicked and sinners before the Lob D exceedingly, impudent and daring tinners.
14 And the Lord said unto Abram, to comfort him after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and south
15 ward, and eastward and westward :\ For all the land which thou aeest, to tbee will I give it, as a pledge of tiie heavenly country, and to thy seed for ever,/"or a long time, if they are
16 obedient. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth r so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then]
\T shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walkthrough the. land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee, at the inheritance of thy posterity..;
18 Then Abram removed [his] tent, and came and dwelt ia the plain of Mamre,|| which [is] in or near Hebron, about twenty four miles south of Bethel, and built there an altap.unto the Lord. ., .
• The LXX. use the tame word as John does, when he >ay», tin .wurli ctuld not «#' fnl« I he beoki, that ii, could not read and attw.d to so many: so the land could n*t tontaiti them.
t Water w», a scarce commodity in those hot climates, and the source gf mstrry disputes. . , . , . t" ,
t It is probable he dwelt on a mountain and had a wide prospect.
) An Amoritc of great note; a friend and confederate, and probably aarcjeljtcof
E E what an happy thing it is to have the blessing of God wherever we go. This made Abram rich, and brought no sorrow with it; his riches gave him an opportunity of doing much good; and the blessing of God kept him from the snares of prosperity, from pride, and insolence. Let us seek his blessing to make us prosperous, to sweeten our enjoyments, and prevent our falh'ng into various temptations, and foolish and hurtful lusts.
2. The children of Abram should cultivate peace. This is a beautiful part of Abram's character. Though superior to Lot in nature and grace, yet he condescends to his inferior, for peace sake. Let us as far as possible live peaceably with all men. Abram gave the preference to Lot. This- is a temper becoming Christians, to submit to one another; to be pitiful and courteous. This is like some great arid injured'person making the first proposals of reconciliation. How truly amiable does he appear! Observe his pica; and let it ever be remembered when angry passions rise, that чие are brethren^ fellow nren, fellow Christians, members of the same body; and also, that the Canaanites are in the land, those who wish us ill, and wait for our halting. Let us not give occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, but live as brethren, conquer ourselves, and hold the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,
3. We see the sad consequence of great plenty in Sodom. It was a fine fruitful conntry ; but pride and fulness of bread was its ruin; they were sinners exceedingly against the Lord. This is too much the case with our own land; it is fruitful, we arc fed with the finest of the wheat, but We are sinners before God exceedingly. Lot preached to them, but they continued wicked. So it is with us, notwithstanding all the preachers of righteousness in the land: and we have loo much reason to fear, lest God should turn a fruitful land into barrenness, because of the wickedness thereof.
4. Let us not measure the favour of God by our situations in the world. The sinners of Sodom dwelt in a pleasant place; Abram and his family among the mountains. But this paradise was turned into the likeness of hell by the sinners that dwelt there. How much happier was Abram and his pious family on the mountains! When men regard wealth and pleasant place« more than the character of those they dwell among, they do not act wisely. In our choice of callings and relations in life, let the interest of the soul be first consulted: this is the way to have God's blessing, and that will make a desert as the garden of the Lord.
.5. When friends forsake us, it i& a pleasant thing to have God near. When Lot went from Abram, God renewed the visits' of his grace. His presence with the soul delights it at all times, especially when earthly friends disagree with us, or part from us; it is happy then to be able to say, lam not alone, for my father is with toe. If we seek his friendship, as Abram did, he will be our ever present friend.
6. Let us often take an attentive view of the blessings which God hath promised, to strengthen our faith and hope. We should review his promises; the fulness and freeness, the suitableness and security of them; especially that of the heavenly Canaan, v. 17. We should live in the exercise of that faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen ; take a view of the better country, in the length thereof and the breadth thereof; trace it in the representation of God's word, there is the chart or map of it: and let our joy in the prospect be lively, and our conversation daily in heaven.
In the former chapters we have had several instances of Abram's piety; here is an instance of his bravery and honour; a war in which Lot was taken prisoner; Abram's rescue of him; and Ids interview with Mclchizedek.
1 A ND it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king* of
Shinar or Babylon, Arioch king of Eliasur, in Arabia, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, in Persia, and Tidal king of
2 nations ;t [That these] made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which
3 is Zoar. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the place that was turne.l into the salt sea, when
4 God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, prince of Elam and a descendant of Shem, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled, hoping to shake
5 off the yoke. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that [were] with him, as allies, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Carnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, or the plain of Kiria
6 thaim, And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan,
7 or the plain of Parang which [is] by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which [is] Kadesh," and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the
• The name of king is given to governors of cities or iittle provinces. + A people gathered together out of divers countries, who put themselves under his jovernniei t.
\ A nu nber of small cities who opposed their expedition.
- The fountain of judgment ; so called in the time of Moses, because G.d judged the Israelites iu this place for murmuring. Numl. xx. la..
Vol. I. H
8 Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar. And when the ene* my approached near the cities of the plain, there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bcla (the same [is] Zoar ;) and they joined battle with them in the vale
9 of Siddim; namely, With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar,
10 and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim [was full of] slime pits ; and the armies of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and many of their men fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took, among the prisoners, Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13 And there. came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew, so called because he was descended from F.ber; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these [.were] confederate with Abram. *
14 And when Abram heard that his brother, or nep/icw Lot, was taken captive, he armed his trained [servants,] who were born, or instructed, in his own house, three hundred and eighteen,
15 and pursued [them] unto a place afterwards called Dan. And he divided himself against them, that he might come upon them in different places, he and his servants, by night, when perhaps they were asleep, or drunk, or off their guard, and smote them,. and pursued them unto Hobah, which [is] on the left hand
16 of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people who were carried captive.
17 And the king of Sodom showed great respcct to Abram for the signal service he had performed, and went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that [were] with him, at the valley of Shaveh,
18 which [is] the king's dale, where Melchizedek lived. And Melchizcdek, which name signifies king of righteousness, was also king of Salem, that is, king of peace; this holy, generous man brought forth bread and wine, provision to refresh Mram and his army: and he [was] the priest of the most high God ;f
• Tbis wis about t)w year of the world 5093, when Abram was eighty four, or eighty five years old.
t These two offices anriently belonged to the same person, thoogh afterwards thry were distinguished and belonged to different tribes. In Melchizedek they were united, and he was both king and priest. Who this Melchizcikk was, has been matter of much debate: some have supposed he was Shcm, who was then living. Others ruve conjectured that he was the Son of God, from what the apostle says of him, Jteb. vii. ^ that he was without father or mother, ire. But the mcpning of this very plainly is, that his lather and mother are not mentioned in scripture. Several ancient heathen writers use the same language of persons whose ancestors were unknown. His being without deicent, having neither beginning of da\i. nor end of tife, is to be understood In the same manner, with reference to his priestly office. This one circumstance is sufficient to ptove that he was not Jesus Christ, viz. his being mentioned as an illustrious type of hiro. Compare Piaim ex. 4. with Oct. vii. 17. Thau art a print for rvrr aper thi order of Melchizedek.