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A. M. 2108. A. C. 1896; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3398. A. C. 2013. GEN. CH. xx-xxv. II. soil, and fertility to the country, so wealth and abun- | nations, is frequently called the fire of God, the fire from dance of all things (as mankind are too apt to abuse God, &c.; and the reason is,—Because, men having no God's gifts) made Sodom and the neighbouring cities power over this kind of meteor, and it being impossible very infamous for their wickedness and impiety. The for them, by any kind of contrivance, to ascend up to prophet Ezekiel gives us a description of them: "Be- the clouds, God is therefore supposed to dwell there, and hold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, to cast down his bolts from thence. fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness, was in her Now, from these observations put together, we may, and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand in some measure, form a notion to ourselves, how this of the poor and needy, but was haughty, and committed destruction came to be effected. For though Moses abomination before me;' which ? Josephus might have in does not inform us, after what manner the lightning and his eye when he gave us this account of them. “ The thunderbolts from above subverted these cities and their Sodomites (says he) waxed proud, and, by reason of adjacent territories ; yet, since he plainly makes mention their riches and wealth, grew contumelious towards men, them, we cannot comprehend how it could happen any and impious towards God; so that they were wholly otherwise than that the lightning and thunderbolts, urmindful of the favours they received from him. They falling in great abundance upon some pits of bitumen, were inhospitable to strangers, and too proud and arro- the veins of that combustible matter took fire immediategant to be rebuked. They burned in unnatural lusts ly, and as the fire penetrated into the lowermost bowels towards one another, and took pleasure in none but such of the bituminous soil, these wicked cities were subverted as ran to the same excess of riot with themselves.” by a dreadful earthquake, which was followed with a sub
These, and other abominable enormities, provoked the siding of the ground ; and that, d as soon as the earth Divine Ruler of the world to destroy their cities, whose was sunk, it would unavoidably fall out, that the waters cry was now grown great for vengeance; and the manner running to this place in so great an abundance, and wherein it was effected, Moses has recorded in these mixing with the bitumen,which they found in great plenty, words : 3 • Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon would make a lake of what was a valley before, and a Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of hea- lake of the same quality with what e the Scripture calls ven, and he overthrew the cities, and all the plain, and the Salt Sea. all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon
This lake, according to the account we have of it, is the ground;' and for the better understanding of this, enclosed to the east and west with exceedingly high we must observe, 1st, * That in the vale of Siddim (the mountains ; on the north it is bounded by the plain of tract of ground which was now destroyed) there were a Jericho, on which side it receives the waters of Jordan; great many pits of bitumen, which being a very combustible matter, - is in some places liquid, in others solid; with the fire of the Lord;" to which the passage in the Latin poet
uses the same expression, ch. Ixvi. 16. • He shall be punished and not only found near the surface of the earth, but lies exactly agrees: He, swifter than the bolt of Jove and the speed sometimes very deep, and is dug from the very bowels of falling
stars, leaped from the dreary banks,' Stat. Theb. b. 1. of it. 2dly, We must observe, that the brimstone and Some however have remarked it, as a peculiar elegancy in the fire which the Lord is said to rain upon Sodom and Go- instead of the relative, or the noun instead of the pronoun, espe
Hebrew tongue, that it very often makes use of the antecedent morrah, means brimstone inflamed ; that, in the Hebrew cially when it means to express a thing with great vehemence, style, brimstone inflamed signifies lightńing ; and that or to denote any action to be supernatural or miraculous.- Hei. the reason why lightning is thus described, no one can be degger's Hist. Patriar. vol. 2. Essay 8. ignorant of, that has either smelt the places which have
c In Lycia, the Hephæstian mountains, says Pliny (h. 2. c.
106) if you do but touch them with a lighted torch, immediately been struck with thunder, or a read what learned men
take fire; nay, the very stones in the rivers and sands in the have wrote upon the subject. 3dly, We must observe waters bum. If you take a stick out of these waters, and draw further, that God is not only said to have 'rained down furrows upon the ground with it (according to the common brimstone and fire, but brimstone and fire from the report) a tract of fire follows it.—Le Clerc's Dissertation. Lord; where the addition of' from the Lord,' which at nish us with several examples of this kind. Strabo, out of Posi
d Strabo in his first, and Pliny in his second book, will furfirst sight may appear to be superfluous, or to denote a
donius, tells us, (p. 40.) that " in Phænicia, a certain city plurality of persons in the Deity, (as most Christian in- situated above Sidon, was absorbed by an earthquake; and out of terpreters would have it,) does more particularly describe Demetrius Scepsius, that several earthquakes have happened in the thunderbolt, 6 which by the Hebrews, as well as other Asia Minor, by which whole towns have been devoured, the
mountain Siphylis overthrown, and the marshes turned into
standing lakes:" and Pliny (b. 2. c. 88) testifies, that “ by a fire C. xvi. 49, 50. 2 Antiq, b. 1. c. 12. * Gen, xix. 24, 25.
which suddenly broke out of it, the mountain Epopos was levelled *Le Clerc's Commentary. Pliny's Natural History, b. 25. c. 15.
to the ground, and a town buried in the deep; for the arch
that supported the ground, breaking in, the matter underneath o Thus thunder and lightning, says Pliny, (b. 25. c. 15.) have being wholly consumed, the soil above must of necessity sink and the smell of brimstone, and the very light and fame of them is be swallowed up in these caverns, if they were of any large exsulphureous. And Seneca (Quæst. Nat. b. 2. c. 21.) tells us, that tent. - Le Clerc's Dissertation. all things which are struck by lightning have a sulphureous smell ; e The account given in the text of the Salt or Dead Sea difas indeed our natural philosophers have plainly demonstrated, that fers somewhat, though not much, from the descriptions of modern what we call the thunderbolt, is nothing else but a sulphureous travellers. According to the analysis of Dr Marcet, the speciexhalation. Persius, in his second satire, calls it sulphur sa- fic gravity of the water is 1. 211, that of fresh water being 1000 crum. When it thunders, the oak is not more rapidly rent Thus it is able to support bodies that would sink elsewhere. It asunder by the sacred sulphury flame than you and your house.' is impregnated with mineral substances, and a fetid air often And for this reason the Greeks, in their language, call brimstone exhales from the water. Recent travellers may have found a divine, because the thunderbolt, which it assimilates, is supposed few shellfish on the shore, or seen a few birds cross its waves; to come from God. - Le Clerc's Dissertation.
but these form only exceptions to the general absence of animal 6 Thus, in the second book of Kings, “THE FIRE OF Gor came life. Every thing around bears that dreary and fearful character down from heaven and devoured them,” ch, i
, 12. And Isaiah I that marks the malediction of Heaven.
A. M. 2108. A. C. 189; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 3398. A. C. 2013. GEN. CH. XI-Xxv. 11. on the south it is open, and extends beyond the reach of sending down this heavy judgment. For though in a the eye, being twenty-four leagues long, and six or seven soil impregnated with bitumen, the cities which are built broad, Its water is extremely deep and heavy; so thereupon may be shaken with an earthquake, and swalheavy, that a man cannot, without difficulty, sink in it; lowed up by a sudden hiatus ; though thunderbolts may but of so nauseous a taste, and noisome smell, that nei- fall, and set the veins of sulphur and bitumen on fire, ther fish nor fowl, unaccustomed to the water, can live which afterwards breaking out, and mingling with the in it. It is full of bitumen, which at uncertain seasons water, may, in a low valley, easily cause a lake, full of boils up from the bottom in bubbles, at which time the asphaltus : though these things, I say, in process of time superficies of the lake swells, and resembles the rising might have come to pass in an ordinary course of of a hill. Adjoining to the lake are fields, which for nature ; yet, if they were done before their natural causes merly (as we showed from Tacitus) were fruitful, but are were in a disposition to produce them; if they would now so parched, and burned up, that they have lost their not have been done that instant, unless it had been fertility, insomuch, that every thing, whether it grow for some extraordinary interposition of God or his spontaneously, or be planted by man, whether it be blessed angela; it ought to be reputed no less a miraele herb, fruit, or flower, 4 as soon as it is compressed, than if every particular in the transaction had plainly moulders away immediately into dust; and to this the surpassed the usual operations of nature. And that the author of the book of Wisdom seems to allude, when he judgment now before us happened in this manner, " the tells us, that of the wickedness of those cities, the waste two angels despatched by Almighty God, upon this land that smoketh to this day is a testimony, and the important occasion, 6 God's foretelling Abraham his plants bearing fruit, that never come to ripeness.' design, the angel's acquainting Lot with the errand
“ The cinders, brimstone, and smoke, ” 2 says Philo, about which they came, and their urging and instigating “and a certain obscure flame, as it were of a fire burn- him to be gone,' to make haste and escape to Zoar, ing, still perceivable in some parts of the country, are because they could do nothing until he was come thither," memorials of the perpetual evil which happened to it:" are arguments sufficiently convincing, that the thunder and, as · Josephus adds, “ the things that are said of and lightning, or (as 8 others will have it), the showers Sodom are confirmed by ocular inspection, there being of liquid fire, or rather storms of nitre and sulphur, some relics of the fire, which came down from heaven, mingled with fire, which fell upon these wicked places, and some resemblance of the five cities, still to be seen.” were immediately sent down by the appointment of God, And it is the duration of these monuments of divine and by the ministry of his angels, who, knowing all the wrath perhaps, which gave occasion to St Jude to say, meteors of the air, and their repugnant qualities, did that the wicked inhabitants of these cities were set forth collect, commix, and employ them, as they thought fit, for an example, suffering the vengeance of an eternal in the execution of God's just judgment upon a people fire,' that is, of a fire, whose marks were to be perpe- devoted to destruction. tuated unto the end of the world ; for it is a common Thus we have considered the manner of the destructhing in Scripture, to express a great and irreparable tion of the cities of the plain, how far natural causes vastation, whose effects and signs shall be permanent to might be concerned, and wherein the miraculous band of the latest ages, by the word aibvios, which we here God did intervene. Whether a deluge or a conflagration render eternal.
be the more formidable judgment of the two, we cannot Thus, in all probability, were the cities of the plain of tell; our imaginations will hardly reach the dreadfulness Jordan overthrown ; nor is there any doubt to be made of either ; and to enter into the comparison, is a task but that the miraculous hand of God was employed in too shocking. As the history, however, of those who
suffered these punishments, is recorded in Scripture for Chap. x, 7. In Vita Mosis, b. 2.
our admonition, 10 that we should not lust after evil 3 De Bello Jud. b. 5. e. 27.
things even as they lusted ;' so the apostle has set both a Whether there be any truth in this part of the account of their examples before us, and laid it down for a sure Tacitus, it is hard to tell. "As for the apples of Sodom (to which proposition, --That « if God spared not the old world, he seems to allude) Mr Maundrell tells us, that he never saw nor but brought in a food upon the ungodly, and if be, heard of any thereabouts, nor was there any tree to be seen near the lake from which one might expect such kind of fruit; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrab into asbes, therefore he supposes the being, as well as the beauty of that fruit, condemned them with an overthrow,' or (according to " a mere fiction, and only kept up because it served for a good St Jude) condemned them to the vengeance of eternal allusion, and now and then helped poets to a pat similitude.- fire ;' we need not doubt, but that, as he is in all ages Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem. 6 Thus God threatens to make the people of Israel '& perpe
the same, a God of justice, as well as mercy, na iniquity tual desolation,' Ezek. xxxv. 9; * & perpetual hissing,"Jer. xviii. can ultimately escape. For though, upon every occasion, 16; and an everlasting reproach," Jer. xxiii. 40; and this more he does not lay bare his vindictive arm, though wobe is is compared to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; * it shall and prepareth the instruments of death;' yet a few of these especially is threatened where the destruction of a city or nation strong and patient, so that he seldom whetteth his sword
, never be inhabited,' Isa. xiii, 20. derwent this fate or sometime after was rebuilt, is a question that remarkable, these monumental instances of his severity has exercised the learned. It is certain, that in the Notitia, against sin, are enough to convince us, that “he bath express mention is made of Sodom, as an episcopal city; and reserved the unjust however they
may escape now) unto among the bishops of Arabia, there is found one Severus, a bishop the day of judgment to be punished.' of Sodom, who subscribed to the first council of Nice; Mr Reland, however, cannot persuade himself that this impious place
'Le Clerc's Commentary in locum. was ever rebuilt; and therefore he believes that the word Sodom, $ Gen. xviii. 22. 6 Ver. 17. 'Gen. xix. 22 which is read among the subscriptions of that council, must be a
# Howell's History.
Patrick's Commentary. fault of the copiers.-Calmet's Dictionary on the word Sodom. 1 Cor. x. 6.
" 2 Pet. ii. 5. 19 Ver. 7. » Ps. vii. 13, &c
4. M. 2148. A. C. 1856 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3418. A. C. 1993. GEN. CH. xxv. 20-xxviii. 8.
to be the heads of two different nations, should long SECT. II.
contest it for superiority, but that at length the younger should get the dominion over the elder.
the CHAP. 1.-Of the Life of Isaac from his Marriage
When the appointed time for their birth was come, to his Death.
child which Rebecca was first delivered of, was all covered over with red hair, for which reason his parents d called hiin Esau ; and the other came after him so very
close, that he took hold of his heel with his hand, and Issac was forty years old a when he married Rebecca, was therefore called Jacob, to denote (what he afterwards the daughter of Bethuel; but his mother Sarah's misfor-proved) the supplanter of his brother; and as they tune attended his wife, namely, that she was without advanced in years, their tempers and occupations were issue for almost twenty years together, till God at last quite different. Esau was a strong and active person, was pleased to hear his earnest prayers, and grant him who delighted much in hunting, and thereby supplying the blessing he so much longed for. Rebecca, however, his father with venison very frequently, won his particular had not many months conceived before the struggles of affection; while Jacob, who was of a more gentle and the two children (for she had twins) in her womb, gave courteous disposition, by staying at home in the tent, ber such pain and uneasiness, that she began, in a man- and employing himself in family offices, became his ner, to wish herself not with child again; and when she mother's darling. went to consult the divine oracle, what the meaning of One day, when Jacob had made him some lentil potthis uncommon conflict might be, she had it returned for tage, Esau, returning from his sport, quite spent with answer, that the two children which she then bore, were hunger and fatigue, was so taken with the looks of it,
that he earnestly desired his brother e to let him eat with e How old Rebecca was when she was married to Isaac, the him: but his brother, it seems, being well instructed by Scripture does nowhere inform us; but the conjectures of most of the Jewish commentators make her to be extremely young. The his mother, refused to do it, unless he would make him oldest that they will allow her to be, is not above fourteen, which an immediate dedition of his birthright. Esau, conwas a thing hardly customary in those days: and yet, considering sidering to what a multitude of dangers his manner of ber absolute management of all affairs, even when Isaac was life, in encountering wild beasts, did daily expose him, alive, we cannot but suppose, that although
she lived not so long, made no great esteem of what Jacob required; and she was a considerable deal younger than he.- Heidegger's Hist. Patriar, vol. 2. Essay 11.
Jacob, perceiving his disposition to comply, (that he & The word in the original signifies to pray with constancy, might have the right more firmly conveyed to him) s vehemence, and importunity; and the Jews hereupon have a proposed his doing it by way of oath, which the other traditional explication, which is preserved in Jonathan's Targum, niamely, that he carried his wife to the place of the altar, upon never scrupled, and after the bargain was made, fell to mount Moriah, where he himself was once bound to be sacrificed, eating very greedily, never once reflecting on what a and there made a most solemn invocation, by the faith of his vile and scandalous thing it needs must be, to sell his father Abraham, and by the oath of God, that she, though barren birthright, and 8 all the great privileges thereunto by nature, might conceive by virtue of the covenant and super belonging, for a mess of pottage. natural blessing; and accordingly he prevailed with God to grant him his request. What we render' for his wife,' may likewise signify in the presence of his wife: and so the import of the d The meaning of the word Esau is somewhat obscure, unless words will be, that besides their more private devotions, they did we derive it from Hassah, to make or be perfect; because he was oftentimes, in a more solemn manner, and with united force, of a stronger coustitution than ordinary infants, as having hair pray for the mercy wherein they were equally concerned: nor all over him, which is an indication of manhood, whereas other could there be any presumption in their thus petitioning what at children are born with hair only on their heads: and as for Jacob, present was denied them, because they knew very well, that it is derived from an Hebrew word, which signifieth to supplant, God's purpose and promise did not exclude, but rather require and by the addition of the letter Jod, one of the formatives of the use of all convenient means for their accomplishment.- nouns, it denotes a supplanter, or one that taketh hold of, and Poole's Annotations, and Bibliotheca Biblica in locum.
trippeth up his brother's heels.-Poole's Annotations, and c The most early and common method of inquiring of the Universal History, c. 7. Lord, was, by going to some one of his prophets, and consulting e Lentils were a kind of pulse, somewhat like our vetches, or him; but then the question is, who the prophet was whom coarser sort of pease. St Austin, upon Psalm lxvi. says, that Rebecca, upon this occasion, consulted? Some of the Jewish these were Egyptian lentils, which were in great esteem, and doctors are of opioion, that she went to the school, or oratory of very probably gave the pottage a red tincture. The inhabitants Shem, (whom they suppose then alive,) or to some other person, of Barbary still make use of lentils boiled and stewed with oil constituted by him, and called of God to that ministration. Some and garlick, a pottage of a chocolate colour; this was the red Christian commentators imagine, it was Melchizedek óthe priest pottage for which Esau, from thence called Edom, sold his birthof the Most High God' whom she consulted; but if it were any right.—Shaw's Travels, p. 140.—ED. priest or prophet, that then she applied to, her father-in-law, f Some imagine that Esau did not know what this lentil soup Abraham, who was certainly then alive, and is expressly called was, and therefore he only called it by its colour, "give me of 'a prophet,' Gen, xx. 7, seems to have been the most proper that red, that same red, as it is in the Hebrew; for which reason person, not only because he was highly interested in her concerns, he was likewise called Edom, which signifies red. But there is but had likewise the Shechinah, or Divine appearance (as most no occasion to suppose, that he was ignorant of what lentils were, imagine) continually resident with him. But as there was only his repeating the word red, without adding the name of a another manner besides that of answering by prophets, customary thing, denoted his great hunger, and eagerness of appetite, which in those days, namely, by dreams and visions, their opinion seems was probably still more irritated by the colour of the soup.to be most probable, who suppose, that Rebecca retired into some Bibliotheca Biblica. secret place, and there having poured out her soul before God in g The birthright, or right of primogeniture, had many priviardent prayers, received an answer
, not long after, either in a leges annexed to it. The first-born was consecrated to the Lord, dream or vision, by a voice from heaven, or by the information Exod. xxii. 29; had a double portion of the estate allotted him, of an angel sent for that purpose.—See Le Clerc's Commentary, Deut. xxi. 17; had a dignity and authority over his brethren, Bibliotheco Biblica in locum, and Heidegger's Hist. Patriar. Gen. xlix. 3; succorded in the government of the family or vol. 2. Essay II.
kingdom, 2 Chron. xxi, 3; and as some with good reason
A. M. 2148. A. C. 1856; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3418. A. C. 1993. GEN. CH. xxv. 20-XXviil 8. In Abraham's time the famine was so severe in Canaan, produce from it; so that Abimelech's subjects began all that he was forced to remove into Egypt; and upon the to malign him, and, to oblige him to depart the country, same account his son Isaac had now left his habitation, filled up the wells which his father's servants had diggede near the well Lahairoi, and was come as far as Gerar, Nay, the very king himself, to satisfy the resentment of a where Abimelech at this time was king, in order to pro- his people, desired of him to leave the city of Gerar, ceed in his journey; but while he was deliberating what and to find him out another habitation ; for that, in his to do, God admonished him in a dream not go down into opinion, d he had improved his fortune sufficiently while Egypt, but to tarry in the country where he then was; he had been among them : so that, to secure himself, as and at the same time assured him, that he would not only well as make the king easy, he retired into the valley of secure him from the danger of the famine, but, in, per- Gerar, where his father had formerly fed his cattle, and formance of the oath which he had sworn to his father there began to open the wells which his father had caused Abrahain, his faithful and obedient servant, would cause to be dug, but the Philistines had filled up, and called his family (to which he would give the whole land of them by their ancient names. But the people of the Canaan in possession, and from which the Messias, the country, thinking him too well situated there, quarrelled desire of all nations, should descend) to multiply exceed with his shepherds, took away their wells, and put him to ingly.
many inconveniences ; so that being quite tired with their Isaac, according to the divine direction, went no far. repeated insults, he removed farther from them, and went ther than Gerar; and here it was that he fell into the and lived in the most distant parts of their country. same weakness that his father had formerly done in the Here it was that he dug another well; and meeting same place, namely, his making his wife pass for his with no opposition, called it Rehoboth, that is, room, or sister, for fear that some wicked man or other might be enlargement, because God had now delivered him from tempted to destroy him, in order to enjoy her. But so the straits and difficulties he had lately been in, by reason it was, that the king, from his window, observing some familiarities pass between them that did not so well reaped an hundred bushels from one ; nay, Bochart in Canaan, comport with the character of a brother, sent for him im- Africa are so very fruitful, that they produce two or three hundred
b. 1. c. 25.) shows from several good authors, that some places in mediately, complained of his dissimulation, charged him fold, which makes this account of Moses far from being incredible. with being married, and (not unmindful, very probably, (Bibliotheca Biblica, and Patrick's Commentary.) The author of what had befallen the nation upon the account of of the history of the piratical state of Barbary observes, that the
Moors of that country are divided into tribes like the Arabians, Sarah) with a design of entailing guilt, and therewith a
and like them dwell in tents, formed into itinerant villages: that judgment of God upon his subjects, in case any attempt “ these wanderers farm lands of the inhabitants of the towns, sow had been made upon her virtue. Fear of death, and the and cultivate them, paying their rent with the produce, such as desire of self-preservation, were the only apology that fruits, coro, wax, &c. They are very skilful in choosing the Isaac made for his conduct; which Abimelech was pleased avoid the Turkish troops, the violence of the one little suiting
most advantageous soils for every season, and very careful to to accept, and accordingly issued out an edict that none, the simplicity of the other,” p. 44. It is natural to suppose that upod pain of death, should dare to offer any injury, Isaac possessed the like sagacity when he sowed in the land of either to Isaac or his wife.
Gerar, and received that year an hundredfold. His lands appear The great accession of wealth, however, wherewith this account the king of the country might, after the reaping of
to have been hired of the fixed inhabitants of the country. On God had blessed him during his stay in Gerar, raised the the crop, refuse his permission a second time, and desire him to envy and indignation of the Philistines. That very year depart.-Harmer, vol. 1. p. 85.—ED. wherein he thought of going down into Egypt for fear of c The same mode of taking vengeance which is here menthe famine, he sowed a piece of ground, and to the great referred to. Niebuhr (Travels, p. 302.) tells us, that the Turkish
tioned, has been practised in ages subsequent to the time here surprise of his neighbours, received o an hundred fold emperors pretend to a right to that part of Arabia that lies
between Mecca and the countries of Syria and Egypt, but that imagine, succeeded to the priesthood, or chief government in their power amounts to very little. That they have, however, matters ecclesiastical. He had a right to challenge the particular garrisons in divers little citadels built in that desert, near the blessing of his dying parent. He had the covenant which God wells that are made on the old road from Egypt and Syria to made with Abraham, that from his loins Christ should come, Mecca, which are intended for the greater safety of their caraconsigned to him. And, what is more, these prerogatives were But in a following page (p. 330) he gives us to undernot confined to his person only, but descended to his latest pos- stand, that these princes have made it a custom to give annually terity, in case they comported themselves so as to deserve them to every Arab tribe which is near that road, a certain sum of money - Poole's Annotations, and Le Clerc's Commentary.
and a certain number of vestments, to keep them from destroying a It is not unlikely that this Abimelech might be the son of the wells that lie in that route.- Harmer, vol. 4. p. 247.—ED. that Abimelech, king of Gerar, with whom Abraham had for- d The words of Abimelech, according to our translation, are merly made a covenant, supposing Abimelech to be here the these, Thou art much mightier than we;' but certainly he could proper name of a man. But it is much more probable, that at not mean that Isaac was more powerful than the whole people of this time it was a common name for the king of the Philistines, Palestine, or that he had a larger family or more numerous attenas Cæsar was for the Roman emperors, and Pharaoh for the kings dants than himself had, and consequently was in a condition, if of Egypt.
he had been so minded, to disturb the government. This we can 6 This hundredfold increase in one year was given by God by no means conceive to be possible ; and therefore the words in unto Isaac for a sign of his purpose to fulfil the covenant made the original (cignatzampta mimennu) do not mean, because with his father, and lately renewed to him; particularly for the thou art mightier than we,' but' because thou art increased, and confirmation of the truth and reason of the warning against his multiplied from us, or by us,' that is, thou hast got a great deal going down to Egypt, as he was inclined, according to the natural by us; while thou hast continued amongst us, thou hast made s prospect of things. Such an increase was at this time a singular great accession to thy substance, and we do not care to let the blessing of God, after there had been a considerable dearth; and get any more; so that the Philistines did not fear him, but envy the soil perhaps that afforded so large a crop not so rich;
other him; they grudged that he should get so much among them, and wise we inay learn from Varro (De Re Rustica, b. 1. c. 44.) that therefore desired him to absent their country.-Shuckford's Cetoa in Syria, near Gadera, and in Africa, about Byzacium,' they nection, vol. 2. b. 8.
A M. 2148. A. C. 1856; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3418. A. C. 1993. GEN. CH. XXV. 20—xxviii. of a scarceness of water, and not long after settled his and which Abraham in former times had bought of the constant abode at Beersheba ; where he had no sooner king of Gerar, they had happily found a spring of water, arrived, but that very night God appeared to him in a for which reason, in the hearing of Abimelech and all vision, promising him his favour and protection, and that the company, he called it again by the name of Beerhe would bless him, and multiply his seed for his servant sheba, the well of the oath, " that is, the well wherein Abraham's sake : so that Isaac, intending to continue water was discovered on the day that Abimelech and I here, built him an altar and place of religious worship, entered into a treaty of peace, and ratified the same witb and cleared out the well a which his father had formerly the solemnity of oaths.” dug.
By this time Isaac's two sons were arrived at the age Nor had he been long here before Abimelech, consci- of forty; and Esau, who had contracted an acquaintance ous of the peculiar manner wherein God had blessed him, with the people of the land, had married two wives, Jusensible of the ill usage be had received from his sub-dith, the daughter of Beeri, and Bethshemath, the daugh-jects, and apprehensive, perhaps, that in time he might ter of Elon, both Hittites, which was no small aftliction think of revenging the injuries he had suffered, came to his parents. This in a manner quite alienated his attended with the chief of his nobility, and with the mother's heart from him; but as for his father, his affeccaptain-general of his forces, either to renew the old tions continued the same. And therefore, finding himself league which had formerly been made with his father grow old and feeble, and his eyes quite dim with age, Abraham, or to enter into a new one.
and apprehending his death to be nearer than really it It was but proper that Isaac, upon this occasion, should was, he called him one day, and declared to him his purin some measure resent the indignities that were offered pose of giving him his paternal benediction before he him: and therefore at first he expostulates the matter died; but wished him withal to take his hunting instruwith them, and seems to wonder why they came to visit ments, and go into the fields, and kill him a little venihim whom they had so lately expelled their country. son, and dress it to his palate, that when he had eaten Abimelech made the best excuse for their behaviour that thereof, and refreshed nature, he might bless him with a the nature of the thing would bear; told him, that he had more tender affection, as well as a more becoming pathos. all along perceived that the divine favour attended him Rebecca overheard all this discourse ; and as soon as in all his undertakings, and that therefore, that he might Esau was well gone, she called Jacob, and acquainted not be thought to oppose God, he was come to renew the him with what was transacting ; that his father was going covenant depending between his people and Abraham's to bestow a benediction, which was final and irrevocable, posterity, and was ready to engage in the same condi- upon his brother ; but that, if he would listen to her, and tions and obligations. This speech, so full of submis- do what she ordered him, she had an expedient, by subsion and acknowledgments, soon pacified Isaac, who stituting him in his room, to turn aside the blessing where was naturally of a quiet and easy disposition ; so that, she desired it. Jacob was willing enough to comply with having entertained the king and his attendants in a very his mother's request; but if he was to personate his brorespectful and generous manner that night, the next ther, the difference of his skin and voice made him apmorning - they confirmed the league with the usual cere- prehensive that his father might discover the imposture, monies, and Abimelech took leave and returned home: and thereupon be provoked, instead of his prayers and but before he departed, Isaac's servants brought him best wishes, to load him with imprecations. But so conword, that in the well which they had been clearing out, fident was his mother of success in this matter, that she
a The reasons that induced Isaac to open the old wells, rather took all the curses upon herself, and encouraged him to than dig new ones, might be, 1. Because he was sure to find a follow her directions. Hereupon Jacob hastened to the spring there, which he could not be certain of in other places; fold, and brought two fat kids from thence, which his 2. Because it was easier
, and less liable to censure and envy; 3. mother immediately took, and dressed the choice pieces Because he had a right to them, as they were his father's chase and property; and 4. Because he was minded to preserve of them with savoury sauce, like venison ; and so having and do honour to his father's memory, for which reason he called covered his neck and his hands with the skins of the kids, them by the same names that his father had done before him.-d and arrayed him with Esau's best robes, e she sent him Bibliotheca Biblica, in locum.
6. The two that are mentioned here are Phicol and Ahazzah. in trembling with the dish to his father. Phicol is of the same name, and bore the same office which he had who is mentioned ch. xxi. 22; but we must not suppose that d Gen. xxvii. 16. Put the skin of the kids of the goats.' It te was the same man, any more than Abimelech was the is observed by Bochart, that in the eastern countries goat's hair same king. The word properly signifies face or head; and as was very like to that of men; so that Isaac might very easily be the captain-general is head of the forces he commands, so some deceived, when his eyes were dim, and his feeling no less have imagined that it is the appellative name (like that of tribu- decayed than his sight. aus, or dictator, among the Romans) for every one among them e The Jews have a fancy, that it was the robe of Adam, which that were advanced to that dignity. And in like manner, though had been transmitted down from father to son, in the line of the Septuagint seem to make Ahazzah a proper name, and call blessing, as they call it, till it came to Abraham, who left it to. him the para-nymph, or bride-man, to Abimelech, which was Isaac, and he designing Esau, as his eldest, for his successor, always accounted a post of the first honour; yet I shall rather gave it to him. Some of them imagine, that it was a sacerdotal choose, with Onkelos, to make the word signify" a train, or great habit, wherein Esau, in his father's illness, was supposed to number of nobility which came in attendance on Abimelech, and officiate, and for this reason it might be kept in Isaac's tent, near to do the patriarch the greater honour upon this occasion.—Le to which, very likely, was the place of religious worship. In all Clerc's Commentary, and Howell's History.
probability it was a vestment of some distinction, which the heir c The articles were agreed upon over night, and, by a mutual of the family, upon some solemn occasions, was used to put on; oath, ratified in the mortring. And the reason why men took and Jacob being at this time to personate his brother, there was pablie uaths in the morning fasting, scems to have been ob reve- a necessity for him to have it. But how his mother should come rentiam juramenti, as the Jews call it, because they looked upon by it, or why she should have the keeping of it, when Esau had them as very solemn and sacred things.- Bibliotheca Biblica. wives of his own, is a question that Musculus raises, and then