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A. His trust in God, and fidelity to discharge the duty confided to him by his master. A. M. 2182. Q. How long did Abraham survive B. C. 1822. Sarah?
A. Thirty-eight years : he was buried by Isaac and Ishmael in the cave of Machpelah.
Q. What became of his property?
A. It fell to Isaac. As for his other children, he gave them gifts in his life time, and sent them away to the east country.
Q. By what title was this patriarch distinguished ?
A. Because, “sojourning by faith in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Q. Had Isaac any children?
A. Yes : after being married twenty years, the twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, were born.
Q. What occupations did they follow?
A. He sold his birthright to Jacob for a morsel of meat. + Q. What was the consequence of this ?
Afterward, when he would have inherited the
2 Chron, xx. 7.
+ Gen. xxv. 29-34. Heb. xii, 16.
blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."*
Q. What class of persons imitate Esau ?
A. Those who forego eternal joys for sensual gratifications.
Q. What induced Isaac to go to Gerar?
A. The Lord appeared to him and renewed the promises made to Abraham : there also he became very rich, on which account the Philistines begged him to remove.
Q. For what was Isaac reproved by Abimelech, king of Gerar?
A. He gave out that Rebekah was his sister, and thus exposed her to insult: wherefore he was reproved by Abimelech, who dreaded the consequences which the licentiousness of his subjects towards Rebekah might have en tailed upon the kingdom.
Q. Did the herdsmen of the country treat the servants of Isaac with kindness ?
A. No: they deprived them by violence of two of the wellst which they had digged.
* Heb. xii. 17.
+ The scarcity of water in some parts of the east, greatly enhances the value of wells, which are there, like the ions in our country, the places of general resort. The distauces between them are carefully computed, to prevent errors, which in the desart oftimes prove fatal. Scripture abounds with metaphors indicative of the value of springs and fountains.
Q. How did Abimelech shew his sense of Isaac's power
A. He went with his friend Ahuzzath, and his chief captain Phicol, to the city where Isaac dwelt, and made a covenant of peace with him. This circumstance Isaac commemorated by calling a well, discovered that day by his servants, Sheba, or the oath : “therefore the name of the city is Beersheba.'
Q. At what age did Esau marry ? A. M. 2207. A. When forty years old, he married B. C. 1797. two Canaanitish women, and thus grieved
Isaac and Rebecca. Q. To what deceitful act did Rebekah prompt Jacob ?
A. She prompted him to personate his brother ; whereby he obtained the blessing which Isaac designed for Esau.
Q. How did this circumstance affect Esau ?
A. It incensed him against Jacob : and he said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.”
Q. How was Jacob preserved from danger?
A. After a solemn charge, prohibiting his marriage with Canaanitish women, Jacob was sent to Laban, his mother's brother, at Padan Aram.
Q. Did Esau endeavour to sooth the feelings of his parents ?
A. Yes : perceiving that they were averse to his conduct, he forthwith married a daughter of Ishmael, hoping thereby to please them.
* The Well of the Oath.
Q. What befel Jacob on his way to Padan Aram?
A. “He dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven : and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed: and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south : and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
Q. What did Jacob say when he awoke ?
A. “ He was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Q. How did Jacob commemorate this ?
A. “ He vowed a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house : and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth* unto thee."
Q. How was he received by Laban?
A. Very kindly: and soon after, becoming attached to Rachel, Laban's younger daughter, he engaged to serve seven years for ber, instead of dowry.t
Q. Did Laban fulfil his contract ?
A. No: he imposed on Jacob, by giving him Leah instead of Rachael, pleading, in extenuation the custom of his country, which required that the eldest daughter should be married first. &
Q. What was his real design?
A. To detain Jacob, whose services were very valuable; and therefore, on the termination of the weddingfeast for Leah, which continued seven days,ß he gave
Consecration by anointing oil, and the dedication of tenths for pious uses, though first mentioned in the life of Jacob, were evidently institntions belonging to the patriarchal wor. ship: and hence it is easy to account for their very general prevalence among pagan nations. They were subsequently enjoined to the Israelites.
+ The purchase of wives was no uncommon circumstance in ancient times. obtained in Assyria (as is instanced by the case before us) among the Canaanites, Gen. xxxiv. 12. the Jews, 1 Sam. xviii. 23—25. Hos. iii. 2. the Ancient Greeks, Indians, and Germans; and was not unknown to the Romans.
In the code of Gentoo Laws, translated by Mr. Halbed, “ it is made criminal for a man to give his younger daughter in marriage before the elder; or for a younger son to marry while his elder brother remains unmarried.”
According to Dr. E. D. Clarke, the wedding feast continues for a like period, in Norway and Sweden.