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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. :17. 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 teinper that would lead us to suspect persons' characters without reason, and not fear where no fear is. We should believe the best we can of every man. Charity hopeth all things, and belier: eth all things.
8. Let us adore that wonderful providence that appeared for Abram. God appeared for him remarkably ; and, as it is expressed 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, as Isaiah expresseth it, who raised up This 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.
Abrum returns to Canaan ; the difference between him and Lot
amicably settled; Lot's removal to the plains of Sodom ; God renews his promise to Abram ; who renoves to the plain of Numre.
ND Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife,
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.* And he went on in his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai ; 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 preserving him in Egypt, and bringing him from s thence in greater ufflicence than he went thither. And Lot also,
which went with Abram, had flocks, and berds, and servants 6 dwelling in tents. And such was the increase of both of them
• See Hirmer's Observations, Vol.l. p. 121.
that the land was not able to bear them, did not afford food enough for 80 many flocks and herds.* that they might dwell together : for their substance was great, so that they cưuld not dwell together. »
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle, probably about some pasy
ture or water :t and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled 8 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 conten
tion will be a refiroach 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 will 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 uncle,
and lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it (was) well watered every where, before the LORD de: stroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, (even] as Eden the garden
of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto 1 Zoar, all the way till thou comest to Zoar. Then Lot chose
for him self all the plain of Jordan ; and Lot journeyed east ;
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 LORD exceedingly, impudent and daring sinners.
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 south15 ward, and eastward and westward : 1 For all the land which
thou seest, to thee will I give it, as a pledge of the heavenly
country, and to thy seed for ever, for a long time, if they are 16 obedient. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth :
so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] 17 shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the
land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will
give it unto thee, as the inheritance of thy posterity. 18 Then Abram removed (his) tent, and came and dwelt in
the plain of Mamre,ll which [is] in or near Hebron, abour twenty four miles south of Bethel, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
• The LXX. use the same word as John does, when he says, the morld could not rett tain the books, that is, could not read and attend to so many : so the land could not contain them.
+ Water was a scarce commodity in those hot climates, and the source of many disputes.
F It is probable he dwelt on a mountain and had a wide prospect.
An Amorite of great note: a friend and confederate, and probably a proselyte o Abram's.
EE 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 falling 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 and injured person making the first pro posals of reconciliation. How truly amiable does he appear ! Observe his plea ; and let it ever be remembered when angry passions rise, that we are brethren, fellow men, 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 country ; 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 are 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 too much reason to fear, lest God should turn a fruitful land into barremess, 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 places 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 is 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, I am not alone, for my father is with me. 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 his interview with Melchizedek. 1 ND it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king* of
Shinar or Babylon, Arioch king of Eliasar, 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 Sid.
dim, 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 the fourteenth year came Chedorlao
mer, 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 Kiria6 thaim, And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, 7 or the plain of Paran, † 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 little provinces.
+ A people gathered together out of divers countries, w bo put themselves under his governmert. 1 A nu nber of small cities who opposed their expedition.
The foutain of judgment ; so called in the time of Moses, because God judged the Israelites in this place for murmuring. Numb. XX. 13. Vol. I.
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 Bela (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 fed, 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 broth
er's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the
Hebrew, 80 called because he was descended from Eber ; 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 nephew 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 respect 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
Melchizedek, 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 Abram and his army : and he was] the priest of the most high God;t
This was about the year of the world 2093, when Abram was eighty four, or eighty five years old.
+ These two offices anciently belonged to the same person, though afterwards they were distinguished and belonged to different tribes. In Melchizedek they were united, and he was both king and priest. Who this Melchizedek was, has been matter of much debate: some have supposed he was Shem, who was then living. Others have conjectured that he was the Son of God, from what the apostle says of him, Heb. vii. 3. that he was without father or mother, 6c.. But the meaning of this very plainly is, that his father and mother are not mentioned in scripture. Several ancient heathen writers use the same language of persons whose ancestors were unknown. His being, without descent, haring neither beginning of days, nor end of life, is to be understood in the same manner, with reference to his priestly office. This one circunstance is sufficient to prove that he was not Jesus Christ, vir his being mentioned as an illustrious type of lim. Compare Psalm ex. 4. with Heb. vii. 17. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.