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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.



ND it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king* of Shinar or Babylon, Arioch king of Ellasar, in Arabia, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, in Persia, and Tidal king of 2 nations;† [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 turned 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 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, who put themselves under his
A number of small cities who opposed their expedition.


The fountain of judgment; so called in the time of Moses, because God judged the Israelites in this place for murmuring. Numb. xx. 13,

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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 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.


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 Eber; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these [were] confederate with Abram.


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.


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, &c. 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 Janguage of persons whose ancestors were unknown. His being without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, is to be understood in the same manner, with reference to his priestly office. This one circumstance is sufficient to prove that he was not Jesus Christ, viz. his being mentioned as an illustrious type of him. Compare Psalm cx. 4. with Heb. vii. 17. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

19 not of any particular nation but of God. And he, that is, Melchizedek, as a priest, blessed him, that is, Abram, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heav20 en and earth: And blessed [be] the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. Abram humbly received the blessing of Melchizedek,as his superior, and he gave him tithes of all the spoils that were taken. This he did in gratitude for his kindness, and as a thank offering to God, to be offered by his priest.


And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons of my subjects whom you have rescued, and take the 22 goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I

have lifted up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, 23 the possessor of heaven and earth, and have sworn, That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoe latchet, not the smallest thing belonging to thy subjects, and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made 24 Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the spoil belonging to the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; this I have no right to dispose of; let them therefore take their portion.




ET us adore the providence of God in working these surprising things; in settling these nations near Abram, that they might see his devotion, be witnesses of God's blessing him, and thus making way for the knowledge of the true God and his worship among them. He fixes the bounds of our habitation, and rules among the kingdoms of men.

2. We see how liable good men are to suffer by bad neighbours. This is often a punishment for choosing situations, without considering the character of the inhabitants where we are going so Lot left the neighbourhood of Abram to dwell in Sodom, and suffered sufficiently for it. If we choose to live in wicked places we must expect to share in their calamities. Let us not think it strange, if we meet with them; but if we keep close to God's house, his worship and people, we shall dwell safe from the fear of evil.

3. We should think of God as the Most High, the possessor of heaven and earth. So Melchizedek represented him; so Abram stiles him. He has sovereign dominion, for he made and supports all creatures. Reverence and praise are due to him; trust and confidence should be placed in him, to give us what he thinks best.

4. Let us praise God as the author of the best of our actions, and those of others also. He gave Abram the victory, v. 19, 20. and Melchizedek mentioned it to the honour of the God of all our victories. While we rejoice in the success of others, let God have all the praise.

5. Let the servants of the most high God maintain an honourable character. Thus Abram did, v. 23. Like him let us guard against a mean and servile temper. Abram might have accepted the king's offer; but true religion requires an indifference to these things, an holy decorum and superiority to worldly concerns; trust and confidence in God raise the mind above them. Abram showed nothing of a mercenary temper, which is a dishonour to religion every degree of a niggardly disposition should be avoided, especially as we have so many enemies to watch for our faults. Let our conversation be without covetousness; and whatsoever things are just and true, and not only so, but whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, let us think on these things.


In the last chapter Abram appeared great in the field; in this he is greater in converse with God, who condescends to enter into a treaty with him; God's promise to Abram of a numerous issue, and of the land of Canaan.



FTER these things, Abram's kindness to Lot, &c. the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, while he was awake, saying, Fear not, Abram, be not alarmed at any of the dangers or enemies which surround thee in this strange land, I [am] thy shield to protect thee; [and] for thy faith and piety I myself will be thy exceeding great reward, and will give thee abundantly more than thou hast resigned to the king of Sod2 om; I will reward thee both here and hereafter too. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, what will all the earth signify to me, seeing I go childless, have no heir to possess it, though thou gavest me hopes of a numerous seed; and the steward of my house, who is next to myself, is not one of 3 my own descendants, but [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram further said, Behold, to me thou has given no seed, though my life draws toward a close: and, lo, one born in my house, as a servant, is mine heir.


And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out 5 of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, in his imagination, for the stars did not yet appear, (see v. 12.) and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So numerous and illustrious shall thy seed be.


And, notwithstanding the premise had been so long delayed,


he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.*

And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall in9 herit it? This he asks for the strengthening of his faith. And he said unto him, this shall be a sign, Take and offer to me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pig10 eon. And he took unto him all these, and, according to the usual method of ratifying a covenant, divided them in the midst, to represent the torn and distracted condition in which his seed was to be for a season; and laid each piece one against another, that the persons covenanting might pass between them: but the 11 birds divided he not. And when the fowls of prey came down in great numbers upon the carcasses to devour them, Abram drove them away.†


And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep, an ecstasy or trance, fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him, under an apprehension of the great distress his 13 posterity should have by the vexation of their enemies. And he, that is, Jehovah, said unto Abram, to explain the vision, and to comfort him, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years, from the birth of Isaac to 14 their deliverance out of Egypt; And also that nation, whom

they shall serve, will I judge or punish; and afterward shall 15 they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, into the state of the dead, whither all thy fathers are gone before thee; thou shalt be buried in a good 16 old age, after a seasonable and natural death. But in the fourth generation, from the descent into Egypt, they shall come hither again, to the country where thou now art; but it cannot be sooner for the iniquity of the Amorites and Canaanites in gener17 al, [is] not yet full, nor the time to punish them come. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace appeared to Abram, perhaps representing Abram's seed afflicted in Egypt, and a burning lamp, as a symbol of the divine presence, noting the covenant between God and Abram, and their future deliverance, that passed between those pieces, to note the ratification of the covenant between God 18 and his people. In that same memorable day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, solemnly ratifying his former promises, and saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, and they shall ex

• Thus Abram was justified by faith, being as yet uncircumcised, Rom. iv. 3. Gal. iii. 6. James ii. 23.

+ Perhaps the fowls of prey were an emblem of the Egyptians and other enemies, who should seek to devour and destroy his posterity; and his driving them away may represent his conquest over them by faith and prayer.

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