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20 These are the sons of 'Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

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28 And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba,

29 And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30 And their dwelling was from Me

21 ¶ Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were chil-sha, as thou goest unto Sephar, a moun of the east.

dren born.

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stroyed before Israel. Some of them inhabited a country further northward than the promised land; and various changes would take place, during a course of ages, in respect of names, especially by uniting two or more families into|| one. The boundaries of the Canaanites are nearly the same, as those assigned to the Israelites west of Jordan, including also the country of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 21. Of Eber.] Of all the Hebrews, and of many other nations, who were descended from Shem by this branch.

sion, mentioned before (25), seems to have been made by divine appointment (Marg. Ref.): but it was not complied with, till after the confusion of tongues; and the historian here refers to the consequences in later ages.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. As all mankind are of one family, and nearly related in Adam and Noah, how reasonable is it that we should love, and do good to, each other! Whenever we behold a human being, whatever be his language and garb, or wherV. 22-30. Besides the descendants of Shem ever he was born, we should recognize a relaby Arphaxad, the Persians are supposed to be tion, and behave to him accordingly. In this the posterity of Elam; the Assyrians and Chal-view, how unnatural and absurd is that prejudeans, of Asshur: and the Syrians, Armenians, dice against foreigners, and that contempt of and many tribes inhabiting Mesopotamia, of them, which generally prevail! And how can it Aram: and the immensely numerous inhabitants consist with love to our neighbors, our brethof the East Indies, China, and Japan, may per- ren, "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh," haps be considered as the descendants of Jok-to treat them with rigor, or hold them in slavetan, the son of Eber. Indeed, many learned||ry?—But "whence then come wars and fightmen suppose that they find all Joktan's descendants in the large peninsula between the RedSea and the Persian Gulph; and appear to derive the Arabians in general from him. But the mention of a mountain in the East, warrants us to look for his posterity more to the East: at least if they settled in Arabia at first, some of them seem afterwards to have migrated to a greater distance. Indeed, this appears to be the most accurate account of the peopling of the regions in the eastern parts of Asia, south of Tartary. It is likewise certain, that many of the Arabians trace back their original to Ishmael and Keturah.-Peleg signifies division:|| and had not the division spoken of been appointed about the time of his birth, it does not appear why that name might not as properly have been given to any of his contemporaries, as to him.

. 31. Tongues.] (Note, 11:1,2.) The divi

ings amongst us?" From that first murderer, who so early stirred up in fallen man the vile lusts of ambition, covetousness, revenge, and cruelty, and armed brethren against each other in horrid war; and who hath in all ages filled the earth with slaughter and devastation, which, it might previously have been supposed, could gratify none but himself. But the very existence of war, and the necessity of always being ready for it, and of sometimes waging it, too plainly prove man's depravity, as well as Satan's influence. Blessed be God, the days are coming, when all the "nations shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning. hooks, and they shall learn war no more:" and then ambitious or rapacious conquerors will no longer be adjudged illustrious characters, as in man's partial histories; but they will be brand ed with infamy, as in the impartial records o. the Bible.

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ing his vengeance; they would probably have chosen for the purpose some high mountain, and not a plain: but they proposed to themselves the acquisition of renown; they wanted to do something in order to be admired and celebrated; and they sought their own glory among posterity. Yet it is remarkable that no history records so much as the name of one of these Babel-builders, except that obscure intimation respecting Nimrod before referred to.-It appears likewise, that they meant this tower to be a centre of union, that they might not be divided, and "scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." And probably their chieftains, Nimrod especially, intended it to be the metropolis of that universal dominion of which they seem to have been ambitious.-It does not appear that they built the tower for an idolatrous temple expressly; but idolatry was early introduced, and this became one of its chief residences.

CHAP. XI. V. 1, 2. Many learned men are of opinion, that the events here recorded occurred about the time of Peleg's birth, or a hundred and one years after the deluge: but their arguments are by no means conclusive: and the idea impressed on the mind in reading the chapter, of the numbers, to which the family of Noah was already increased, favors the opinion that a longer term of years had elapsed. Probably the division of the earth before mentioned, was a distinct transaction from the dispersion, which took place on this occasion. It was the purpose of God, declared in the blessing pronounced on the sons of Noah, that they should "replenish the earth." (9:1.) This implied that they should be divided into distinct nations, under separate governments, inhabiting different countries, till the whole earth was repeopled. But, as they all spake one language, and, with but few exceptions, had cast off the fear of God; they formed a project which tended to counteract his purpose.-Some regular division of the earth seems to have taken place at the time that Peleg was born, probably by divine appointment, under the direction of Noah and his sons. (Marg. Ref.-Note, 10:22-30.) -But the several families, to which the different regions were assigned, had not yet separated, and were unwilling to separate.-The expression, "as they journeyed from the East," may refer to some of the expeditions headed by Nimrod, who, having united the whole company under his government, perhaps led them to combine in this undertaking: (Note, 10:8-12.) though some think that Noah had settled to the East of Shinar, when he left the ark, and thatable language here used, not only implies counhis descendants were now removing towards the West.

V. 3, 4. The company, or their leaders, consulted together, and excited and animated each other in encountering difficulties. The plain which they had chosen, contained no quarries of stone; but it yielded quantities of bitumen, which formed a natural cement: and, having thus obtained mortar, their ingenuity and resolution suggested a method of surmounting the other impediment to their design, (which was, to erect both a city, and an exceedingly high tower) by burning clay into bricks. If they bad planned this enormous building to secure themselves against a future deluge, as forgetting or distrusting the promise of God, or defy

V. 5. The Lord took particular notice of this daring enterprise; and men, who take such notice, come to the spot to examine for themselves. (Note, 6:6,7.)-The distinction between "the children of men," or the openly profane, and "the children of God," or professors of true religion, still subsisted. We may be sure, that Noah, Shem, Eber, and other pious persons, had no concern in this ambitious rebellious project.

V. 6-9. Ever since Adam broke through the fence of the divine prohibition, by eating the forbidden fruit, men have not been restrained from any thing on which they set their hearts, unless by a strong hand. The remark

sel and determination, and an indignant contempt of the presumptuous project formed by the builders; but is likewise a clear intimation of the plurality of persons in the Deity, and can admit of no other consistent interpretation. (Note, 1:26,27.)-The power of that God, who first gave man the gift of speech, was exerted in confounding the language of this rebellious company; and nothing could be more suited to break their wicked combination. Some indeed have thought, that no more is meant, than dividing their counsels, by leaving them to their violent passions, till they quarrelled and separated; and several other interpretations have been given: but the variety of languages, which "has ever since prevailed on earth, proves that

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ters of idolatry, and the type of the mystical Babylon, "the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth;" which likewise is, and will be, confusion.

V. 10-25. The sacred writer, having given a general account of the tribes and nations descended from the three sons of Noah; before he proceeded to trace the line of Shem to Abram, introduced the building of Babel and the confusion of tongues, as in a parenthesis. The Septuagint read, "Arphaxad lived one hundred and thirty-five years, and begat Cainan. ... And Cainan lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat Salah." And St. Luke refers to the genealogy, with this additional link in it. (Luke 3:36.)-According to the Hebrew text, followed by our version, we may by computation find, that the original revelation made to Adam, might be transmitted to Abram, at above two thousand years' distance, through only two intermediate persons. Adam lived till Methusaleh was two hundred and forty-three years old; and Methusaleh died when Shem was about one hundred, who lived almost as long as Abraham.

their language was confounded, and that they could not understand each other. By an extraordinary miracle, their minds were strangely confused, as to the meaning of the terms in which they had before conversed; and led to form other words and expressions. Thus new languages were produced; and, probably, these were as numerous as the principal families in the company, who could understand one another but could not converse with their former associates Thus the very plan which they had formed to prevent their dispersion made way for it; and in consequence the several tribes removed to the regions allotted to them. In some respects this was a severe rebuke, and led to the more entire separation of most of them from the worshippers of God: but it tended to accomplish his purpose in replenishing the earth with the human species. There is 'scarcely a great nation in the world, but what 'has its own language. The dividing of lan'guages was therefore the dividing of nations; and so a bar to the whole world being under 'one government.' Fuller.-Noah, and other pious persons, chiefly the descendants of Shem in the line of Eber, not being concerned in this project, retained the original language. Now, if this was, as it is highly probable, the Hebrew, we may conclude it was thus called from Eber, to whose descendants it was peculiar: and perhaps this is the most satisfactory reason that can be assigned, why Abraham is V. 26, 27. Terah seems to have lived seven. called the Hebrew, and his posterity the He- ty years before he had any children, and in brews. This name, however, seems to have process of time to have had Abram, Nahor, and been at first general to all the race of Eber.- Haran, and perhaps others. But, though Abram Babel signifies confusion; (Bp. Patrick: Leigh;) was mentioned first, as the most honorable and the city was afterwards called Babylon, character; it is probable that he was Terah's and continued, for many ages, the head-quar-youngest son, and not born till his father was a VOL. I.

9

The Septuagint, indeed, add one hundred years to all, beginning at Arphaxad; and take them away from the subsequent life of some of them. (Note, 5:4-20.)-It is remarkable in how gradual a manner the life of man was shortened after the deluge, till it was confined within its present limits.

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hundred and thirty years of age. For Terah lived two hundred and five years: and Abram, who did not leave Haran till after his death, was only seventy-five when he departed thence. (12:5.)

V. 28-32. Sarai is supposed by some to have been the daughter of Haran, and the same as Iscah. She is called the daughter-in-law of Terah (31), as being Abram's wife; yet Abram afterwards said, "she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother." (20:12.) Probably Haran was the eldest son of Terah, and Abram his youngest by another wife: and thus, Sarai was the daughter, or grand-daughter, of Terah, Abram's father, but not of his mother.-It seems that Terah left his country on a divine monition made to Abram. (12:1. Acts 7:2,3.)-Idolatry must have become very general at this early period; for both Terah and his family had served other gods before this call; which was doubtless one reason of the command to Abram finally to leave his native country. Terah appears to have been very ready to obey the call, and even active in removing from Ur: and he reached a place called Haran or Charran, (well known in history, and perhaps thus named from Terah's deceased son;) but here he stopped, probably through sickness and infirmity; and Abram, having attended him till he died, afterwards proceeded on his journey towards Canaan. The other branches of the family seem afterwards to have left Ur, and to have settled at Haran.

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in heaven, and laugheth them to scorn;" and all the efforts of sinners to honor themselves will at last terminate in shame and confusion.— In the difficulty with which our intercourse with foreign nations is carried on, and the labor with which learning is acquired, we experience the effects of the transaction at Babel. Indeed, one great hindrance to the promulga||tion of true religion, both in former and latter ages, has arisen from this source. Yet, "righteous art thou in all thy judgments, O LORD!" When it was thy sovereign purpose to spread the Gospel among the nations which thou hadst dispersed, how easily didst thou by the gift of tongues remove this impediment!-Oh! remove all other impediments, and fill the earth with truth and righteousness.

NOTES.

CHAP. XII. V. 1-3. To prevent the universal prevalence of idolatry, and to reserve a remnant, to whom his oracles might be delivered, and among whom his ordinances might be established, till the coming of Christ; the Lord, as a Sovereign, chose Abram, from among his associates in idolatry. "Thus the God of glory appeared to him," probably by a visible manifestation; and, having made himself known unto him, and satisfied him that this was a divine revelation, he commanded him to leave his native country.-It is not certain that idolatry was more prevalent there than in Canaan; but Abram might more easily avoid it among strangers, than among his former associates: he was therefore likewise required to leave all his kindred, that is, all who would not accompany him.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. How soon do men forget the most tremendous judgments, and return to their former crimes!"The LORD had said," &c. That is, when he The increase of wickedness kept pace with that of the human species; though the desolations of the deluge were before their eyes, though they sprang from the stock of righteous Noah, and though that patriarch was still living! So ineffectual is every thing, except the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, to rectify the obliquity of the human will, and subdue the depravity of the human heart!-Arduous undertakings can be accomplished only by counsel, harmony, and mutual encouragement; which we often find in the enterprises of daring sinners against the cause of God, and which are too often wanting in the endeavors of his servants to promote his glory. There is, however, no counsel or wisdom against the Lord. While men on earth are plotting to defeat his purposes, "he sitteth

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was in Ur of the Chaldees: and perhaps be repeated the call after Terah's death. To engage Abram's prompt obedience, God promised to bless him personally, in things temporal, spiritual, and eternal; and relatively in his posterity, by "making of him a great nation."- God would also "make his name great."-Abram was not renowned, either as a conqueror, a lawgiver, or an inventor of useful and ingenious arts: he was not a monarch, a genius, a philosopher, or so much as an author; but a plain man, dwelling in tents, and feeding cattle all his days: yet perhaps no mere man has been so widely and permanently honored. The Jews, and many tribes of the Saracens and Arabians, justly own and revere him as their progenitor: many nations in the East exceedingly honor his memory

4 So Abram departed as the LORD had]] and said, P Unto thy seed will I give this spoken unto him; and Lot went with land: and there builded he an altar unto him: and Abram was seventy and five the LORD, who appeared unto him. years old when he departed out of Haran. 8 And he removed from thence unto

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5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and Lot his brother's son, and all their sub-pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the stance that they had gathered, and the west, and Hai on the east: and there he souls that they had gotten in Haran; and builded an altar unto the LORD, and callthey went forth to go into the land of ed upon the name of the LORD. Canaan, and into the land of Canaa 9 And Abram journeyed, going on they came. still toward the south.

6 And Abram passed through the land) into the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the "Canaanite was

then in the land.

7 And the LORD

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1 33:18. 34:2. 35:4. Josh. 20:7. 24:32. Judg. 9:1. 1 Kings 12:1.

appeared unto Abram,

Shechem. John 4:5.
Acts 7:16. Sychem.

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*

a famine in the went down into Egypt

p 13:15. 17:3. 26:3. 28:13. Ps. |
105:9-12.

q S. 8:20. 13:4,18. 26:25. 33:20. |
Sychar.r28:19. 55:3,15.16.

m Deut. 11:30. Judg. 7:1.

n 10:15,19. 13:7. 15:18-21. o 17:1. 18:1. 32:30.

at this day, and glory in their real or pretended relation to him. Throughout the visible church he has always been highly venerated; and at this day, Jews, Mohammedans, and many Gentiles, vie with each other and with Christians, who should most honor this ancient patriarch! Nothing could be more improbable at the time, than this event; yet the prediction has been fulfilling, most exactly and minutely, during the course of almost four thousand years! Need we any other proof, that the historian wrote as "he was moved by the Holy Ghost?"-The Lord also promised Abram that "he should be a blessing.' To the latest ages important blessings would for his sake be vouchsafed to his posterity; he should be an instrument of great good, while he lived, to his relations, domestics, and neighbors; and his example would be eminently useful till the end of time. All the true blessedness the world is now, or ever shall 'be, possessed of, is owing to Abram and his 'posterity. Through them we have a Bible, a Savior, and a gospel. They are the stock on "which the Christian church is grafted. Their "very dispersions have proved the riches of the "world.' Fuller.-The Lord would also have the same friends and enemies with his chosen servant, rewarding the kindness, and punishing the injuries, done to him, as if done to himself. In him, and in One descended from him, all blessings centre; and through and from him they have been communicated to unnumbered millions, and shall continue to be so, till all nations shall be made happy in him, and by faith in Jesus become "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Notes, Acts 3:24— 26. Rom. 4: Gal. 3:)

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12-14. 1 Cor 1:2. *Heb. In going and journeying. 13:3.

20:1. 42:5. 43:1. 47:13. Ruth 1:1. 2 Sam. 21:1. 1 Kings 17: 18 2 Kings 4:38. 6:25. 7: Ps. 107:34. Jer. 14:1. Acts 7:11.

x 26:2,3. 40:3,4. 2 Kings 8:1,2.

that Canaan was almost entirely unknown to him; being at least three hundred miles distant from Haran, and separated by great rivers, and an extensive and perilous desert.-Lot also, with his family, went with him, having become, probably by his means, a believer: and they took such of their possessions as could be removed, with the servants who were their property, and perhaps many of them proselytes to their religion. Thus with steady perseverance they went forward, and by the Lord's guidance and protection safely arrived in Canaan.

V. 6, 7. The Lord appeared to Abram on his arrival in Canaan, to testify his acceptance of his faith and obedience, and to encourage him; at the same time that he welcomed him to the promised land, which he assured him should be the possession of his posterity: yet he then had no child, the Canaanites dwelt in it, and he could only sojourn there as a stranger upon sufferance. Accordingly Abram "builded an altar, unto JEHOVAH, who appeared to him." He made an open profession of his religion; maintained the public worship of JEHOVAH; avowed his faith in the promised Seed, in prefiguration of whose atonement sacrifices were instituted; and probably, both with his family and such of his neighbors as were induced to join him, he observed the sabbaths with sacred solemnity. Thus, in faith, he seemed to take possession of the promised land, in the name of JEHOVAH, as the land which in future ages would be the principal seat of true religion.Sichem is afterwards spelt Shechem, which best accords with the original.-The word rendered plain, is generally supposed to mean an oak, or grove of oaks.-The clause, "The Canaanite was then in the land," might be added afterwards as an explanatory note, perhaps by Ezra: yet some think, that the branch of the devoted nations, which were called Canaanites, then inhabited this district; but, before the times when Moses wrote, had been dispossessed by some other tribe.

V. 4, 5. "By faith Abram obeyed, and he went out not knowing whither he went." He was fully satisfied that the call, promise, and command, were from the living God. He believed that his testimony was true, and his promise faithful, and that he was able to fulfil it. He was assured, that the blessing of the Almighty was sufficient to compensate for all V. 8. Beth-el.] Many of these names were that he could lose or leave behind, to counter-given afterwards; but Moses spake of the sevvail all trials, to supply all wants, and to answer eral places as they were known in his time.➖➖ and exceed all his desires and expectations. "Calling on the name of the LORD," seems to His natural reluctance might be strong; and signify the public worship which accompamany would deride him as a visionary, for leav-nied Abram's sacrifices. Some render it, he ing all, without so much as being able to in- preached concerning the name of the LORD;" form his inquiring neighbors, or expostulating as intimating that he joined instructions to his relatives, whither he was going. For it seems devotions. (18:19.)

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