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ABRAHAM AND HIS FAMILY,
CONTENTS; - Parentage and Relations; Removes to Haran; Goes to Canaan; Goes down to Egypt and returns; Abram and Lot separate; Receives a Divine Communication; Battle of the Kings; Another Vision; Hagar given to Abram; Another Vision; Another; Sodom Destroyed; Lot and his Daughters; Sojourn in Gerar; Birth of Isaac; Hagar and her Son Rejected; Covenant with Abimelech; The Offering of Isaac; Nahor; Death of Sarah; A Wife procured for Isaac; Death of Abraham; Ishmael and his Family.
His three sons
448. It would seem from several circumstances, here named, that Ur of the Chaldees, was the residence of Terah and his family, for a long period. were born there, and were there married. in the case of Haran; and is expressed with reference to the others. The wife of Nahor was daughter of his brother Haran. The same Haran was father of Iscah. The opinion is not without foundation that this Iscah and Sarah are the same. If this supposition is not true, then we have the allusion to Iscah without any necessity; and who Sarah was, of which we should expect to be informed, we are not told. Besides, if Sarah and Iscah are the same, then Sarah and Milcah were sisters; and both were sisters of Lot; and this will give us a reason that might not otherwise be so manifest, why Abram should have taken Lot with him, and regarded him with so much interest; for in this case, Lot was not only a nephew of the patri
arch, but a brother of Sarah; and his father, being dead, he united his interests with those of his sister and uncle. With this view the language of Abram concerning his wife; "She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother," xx. 12, may be explained by supposing that grand-daughter (as the word daughter often means) was had in view, and by the additional supposition that Terah had two wives, one of whom was the mother of Abram, and the other of Haran.
SECTION II. REMOVAL TO HARAN.
31. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughterin-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 into Haran and dwelt there.
32. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
449. Terah being the head of the family, is said to have taken Abram and others, and gone to Haran, though it appears from another passage, that Abram had instigated this movement, being instructed so to do by a divine vision. xii. 1.
Haran was evidently named after Haran, the brother of Abram, who had died in Chaldee. It was not, therefore, so called, when Terah and his family went there, but received its name from them, in honor of their deceased friend. Nothing can be more natural than this circumstance; and there is a multitude of such and similar ones, that tend strongly to confirm the truth of the
The death of Terah is mentioned here, though Abram's removal to Canaan, and many other events afterwards recorded, must have taken place before his decease.
SECTION III. - ABRAM GOES TO CANAAN.
1. Now 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 Be. thel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel 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.
450. The message from God to Abram, here referred to, was given to him while he was in Ur of the Chaldees. It does not appear that Abram knew what land was intended for him, till he came into the land of Canaan, and received another and more definite statement. That he should be greatly blessed, and that all men would be blessed through him, are the two items in this announcement.
451. How long Abram and Lot resided in Haran, is not stated. "The substance they had gathered, and the souls they had gotten in Haran," may be understood as implying a considerable period.
452. The Canaanite was then in the land. Abram, therefore, could not claim the country by right of disHe could only covery, nor as being the first settler. claim it as a divine bestowment; and on this ground it was claimed, and taken possession of, at a later day.
453. That Abram journeyed still toward the south, shows that he had come from the north, or more properly, from the north-east. Hence we must place Haran and Ur in that direction.
SECTION IV. — ABRAM GOES DOWN TO Egypt.
10. T 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 T 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 maid-servants, 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 Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
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. And 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 Bethel,
unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel 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.
454. That there was a famine in Canaan, and not in Egypt, is easily accounted for; the one was watered by the clouds that descended upon the land, and it would suffer immediately if they were withheld; the other was watered by the overflowing of the Nile, and was not affected by slight changes, such as would affect other countries. The Nile did not often withhold its supplies, but when it did, the effect was long continued. Hence the seven years of plenty, followed by seven of famine, was perfectly in accordance with natural circumstances.
Going down to Egypt is a reference, slight in itself, but well fitted to strengthen our confidence in the narrative, by its agreement with facts. Egypt was lower than Canaan; and therefore, those who went there from the latter place, went down; and on their return they went up out of Egypt.
455. The deception instigated by Abram is recorded. as a historical fact, though it does not reflect well upon the character of the patriarch; and it shows a lack of information concerning the place he was to visit. True, it was not a sin of the first magnitude, nor was it prompted by unworthy motives; but a sin it was, and no less a sin in the patriarch than it would have been in any other man under the same circumstances, though some biblical expounders have conceived the necessity of exonerating him from all blame, which they would not feel at liberty to do, in ordinary cases. One thing we ought not to forget, that, if our sense of right and obligation is greater than that of the patriarchs, it is mainly because we have privileges which they had not. And indeed, were we to find them as conscientious, as are well instructed Christians of the present day, one of two conclusions would follow that few of us would be willing to accept, either that the record we have of those early times is false, or that revealed religion has been of no use to the world.
456. The "plagues" that came upon Pharaoh in consequence of Abram's wife, are not described, and may have been only such "troubles," as would naturally arise from the circumstances, though not the less brought upon him by the Lord, on that account. Abram and Lot
went up from Egypt "into the south," that is, into the south part of Canaan; though, in going thither, they went north or north-east.