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ing children, of which they seemed to have no other prospect, was one powerful inducement: but there is little reason to think that they had any expectations of being the ancestors of the promised Seed, for that distinction was expressly limited to the seed of Abraham. The truth seems to be, that, though preserved from gross crimes, they had been accustomed in Sodom to hear and witness wickedness, till their consciences were become unfeeling, and their sense of shame blunted. No sufficient excuse can be made either for them or for Lot; and indeed, scarcely any account can be given of the transaction, but this, that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"-After this we read no more, in the history, of Lot, or of his daughters. Peter's testimony satisfies us, that he lived to repent; yet there is no proof that his daughters did. But he died under a dark cloud; all his substance and part of his family perished in Sodom: his wife in looking back fost her life; and it might almost have been wished, that his daughters had been taken away too, that his and their sin and shame might have been prevented: for, though he was not "written childless," his posterity were the monuments of his reproach, and their very names perpetuated the memory of their disgraceful original.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V. 1-15.

3 But God came to Abimelech in fa dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but & a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken: for she is * a man's wife.

i

4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself, said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart,

f 28:12. 31:24. 37:5,9. 40:8. 41: | h 6,18.

1,&c. Job 4:12,13. 33:15. Matt.i 18:23-25. 19:24. 2 Sam. 4:11.
1:20. 2:12,13, 27:19.
k Josh. 22:22. 2 Kings 20:3, 1
Chr. 29:17. 2 Cor. 1:12.
Thes. 2:10.

g 7. Ps. 105:14. Ez. 33:14. Jon.
3:4.
*Heb. married to an husband. | ↑ Or, simplicity, or sincerity.

1

and manifest the counsels of all hearts;" and when the wicked shall "suffer the vengeance of eternal fire:" we shall see that the Lord hath not without cause denounced the dreadful sentence, but shall wonder at his patience and long-suffering towards them.-In attempting to do good, or prevent evil, we must take care that the methods which we adopt are justifiable: nor must we commit a less sin to prevent others from perpetrating a greater. Nothing marks sinners more ripe for destruction, than when, being mad upon their lusts, they resent the least check, and will bear no control: for "he, that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." And they who treat the friendly warnings of God's servants and ministers as idle tales and groundless fears, will be awfully convinced of their mistake by the event.

V. 16-38.

"The salvation of the righteous is of the LORD." Being merciful to them, he warns them, and neither suffers them to neglect the warning, nor leaves them to the effect of their procrastinating folly: but, by the mixed influence of hopes and fears, he disposes them to leave all for the salvation of their souls; and he even condescends compassionately to accommodate himself to their infirmities. Let us, however, at the same time remark his awful severity on apostates: let us "remember Lot's wife," and not allow one hankering wish after forbidden or forsaken objects; and let us be much afraid, lest, "after having escaped the corruption which is in the world, through the knowledge of Christ, we should be again entangled and overcome thereby." For, though "the Lord will not forsake his people," the severity of his multiplied chastisements may well fill our souls with holy awe: and if he pursue his children with the rod, even unto the grave, what will be the dreadful doom of his enemies?

When angels entered Sodom, they found out the only righteous man residing there. Thus they still invisibly encamp round them that fear the Lord: and thus we ought to associate with the righteous in every place to which we go. Nor is it in general very difficult to distinguish them; for "by their fruits we may know them," and by the hatred which the wicked bear them: and hospitality prudently shewn for the Lord's sake will engage his protection and--It is grievous to observe, that chastisement a gracious recompense.-But to what a pitch seems in some cases to lose its effect; that, for of wickedness do some sinners arrive! Who a time, they who are corrected sin more and does not allow the justice of God in the destruc- more! and that those who have escaped contion of abandoned Sodom? and could our eyes tamination amongst bad examples, are overat cnce behold all those abominations, which come in solitude; and remain unimpressed by the Lord every moment witnesses in other the awful judgments which they have witnesscities and countries, we should probably ex-ed! These may expect to suffer more and more, pect that they would share Solom's doom. Indeed, "except the LORD of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, even we should" ere this, "have been like unto Sodom and Gomorrah." The good Lord increase that remnant! But when, at the day of judgment, God shall "bring to light the hidden things of darkness,

and to die in uncertainty and dishonor; and it is an evident fact, that children do suffer for their parents' sin. Let us then watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation; and especially let us guard against covetousness and drunkenness, which are inlets to all other crimes.

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6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from " sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. 7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a P prophet, and he shall 1 pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

r

8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.

t

9 ¶ Then Abimelech called Abraham,|| and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on 24:17. 1 Kings 13:6. 2 Kings 5: 11. 19:2—4. Job 42:8. Jer. 14:

1 Job 33:9. Ps. 26:6. 73:13. Dan. 6:22.

m 18. 31:7. 35:5. 1 Sam. 25:26, 34. Hos. 2:6,7.

n 39:9. Ps. 51:4.

o 3:3. 26:11. 1 Cor. 7:1. 2 Cor. 6:17.

P 12:1-3. 18:17. Ex. 7:1. Ps. 105:9-15.

q 1 Sam. 7:5,8. 12:19,23. 2 Sam.

11. 15:1. 27:18. Jam. 5:14-16.
1 John 5:16.

r 2:17. Ez. 3:18. 33:8,14-16.
s Num. 16:32,33.

t 12:13. 26:10. Ex. 32:21,35.
Josh. 7:25. 1 Sam, 26:18,19.
Prov. 28:10.

NOTES.

x

my kingdom, " a great sin? thou hast done
deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham,
What sawest thou, that thou hast done
this thing?

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11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place: and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother: and she became my wife.

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13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

u Lev. 20:10. 2 Sam. 12:10,11. a 11:29. 1 Thes. 5:22.
Heb. 13:4.

x 34:7. 2 Sam. 13.12. Tit. 1:11.
y 22:12. 42:18. Neh. 5:15. Job
1:1. 28:28. Ps. 36:1. Prov. 1:7.
2:5. 3:13. 16:6. Rom. 3:13.
7. 12:12, 26:7.

e

b 12:1. Acts 7:3-6. Heb. 11:8.

c 1 Sam. 23:21. Ps. 64:5. Acts 5:9.

d 11. 12:16.

e 2,7. 12:19,20.

among them; and thus were comparatively "a righteous nation."-The Lord had "withheld Abimelech from sinning against him;" probably by some uncommon disease, with which his subjects also were visited (18). This was in fact a merciful dispensation, to keep him from bringing guilt, and heavier condemnation, on himself and his people.-If all adulterers were dead men, in this Christian land, how would it decrease our numbers, and especially how would it thin the ranks of the superior orders in the community!-Against me (6). Note, Ps. 51:4.

CHAP. XX. V. 1-6. Gerar was inhabited by the Philistines, and seems to have been their capital city-Abimelech signifies My father the king. He took Sarah with intent to espouse her, though he had already at least one wife (17). She still retained her beauty; which appears wonderful to us, but might not be so very|| remarkable at that time. Probably Sarah was then pregnant, which circumstance would increase her anxiety and that of Abraham; and it was also an aggravation of their sin, which was indeed in every respect much more heinV. 7. Prophet.] Abraham is the first person ous than before. (Note, 12:11-16.) Before revelation by the written word was afforded called a prophet in the scripture. The title seems to denote one who is favored with a peand completed, the Lord was pleased more frequently to make known his will, in ordinary culiar intercourse with God, who receives comcases, by dreams, as distinct from prophetical munications from him in his own personal condiscoveries to be communicated to others: but cerns, or is employed to deliver his mind and every impression of that kind, and indeed all will to others; whether he utter predictions of supposed discoveries of the divine will, must future events or not. Various external circumnow be tried by the infallible and perfect stances attended these communications; and standard of the holy Scriptures; and no farther some prophets had more intimate access to regarded than they are warranted by them.- God, and explicit discoveries of his will, than As Sarah was another man's wife, Abimelech others: but this general definition will apply was warned that he should inevitably die, un-almost to every place in the sacred oracles, less he restored her: and he was alarmed lest where the word is used; except when false his people also should be visited with over-prophets are meant, who pretended to that whelming judgments on her account. Yet he was conscious, that he had not intended to commit adultery, but had been misled by the express declarations of both Abraham and Sarah; V. 8. His council were all of the same nor could he suppose that the Lord would "slay also a righteous nation." He evidently referred 'mind, that this was a divine admonition, which Abimelech's expostulation and to the late destruction of Sodom and the cities it was not safe to disobey' Bp. Patrick. V. 9-13. of the plain, which doubtless had caused great consternation, and probably a degree of refor- remonstrance were weighty. convincing, and mmation in that neighborhood.-As the Lord ad- mild: but Abraham's answer implied criminal mitted Abimelech's plea, we may suppose that distrust of God, groundless suspicion of the Geboth he and his subjects were free from the rarites, and a settled plan of misconduct; and abominations of Sodom; and were not generally his excuse was tinctured with equivocation.-idolaters, but had some remains of true religion || (Note, 11:28–32.) VOL. I.

12

special intercourse with God which the true prophets actually enjoyed.-The intercession of prophets was deemed peculiarly effectual. (Marg. Ref. p, q.)

189

15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my || the wombs of the house of Abimelech, beland is before thee: dwell where it pleas- cause of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

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V. 16. Abimelech either gave Abraham a for their case is unspeakably perilous: and let thousand pieces of silver, (probably shekels,) in all men abhor the thoughts of "sinning on, money, besides the presents before-mentioned; that grace may abound."-It should also be or this was the value of the whole. In stating noted, that artifice, of whatever kind, is more this to Sarah, he calls him her brother, which certainly unsuccessful, and more speedily deimplied a rebuke of her misconduct.-Some ex-tected, when used by religious characters, than pound the following words of the money given to Abraham; "This is a covering of the eyes, &c." I have given him this money to buy thee 'a veil, that all who converse with thee here, 'or in any other country where thou shalt come, 'may know thee to be a married woman.'-A|| veil was worn as a token of subjection to her husband.-Others refer them to Abraham: "He is to thee a covering of the eyes, &c." Thou 'shouldst have avowed thy relation to him, "which would have sufficiently protected thee, ei'ther here or elsewhere.'-Instead of, “And with|| all other, &c.;" the Septuagint read, ‘And in all 'things speak truth.'-Thus she was reproved, or instructed.

V. 17, 18. The disorders inflicted on Abimelech and his family, not only withheld him from sin, but tended to shew the efficacy of fervent prayer, and to put honor upon Abraham, and so to promote the knowledge of God among the Philistines. (1 Sam. 5:6:)-Man's "wisdom leads him into a pit; but God's wisdom 'must draw him out.' Fuller.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

in the case of others. The irreligious may for a season practise it and prosper; but the servants of God must for their good be soon put to shame.-On the other hand, though some things in Abimelech must be blamed; and it should be observed that indulgence gives force to all our passions; yet we must commend, and should imitate, the calmness and mildness of his reproof, his ready return of good for evil, and the salutary counsel which he gave to Sarah: and it is pleasing to find that he mentions adultery as a horrible sin against God, and temptation to it as a great injury; and that he so seriously expostulates with Abraham about his misconduct in that respect.-To appeal to God in particular instances, concerning our integrity, is not at all inconsistent with a humble consciousness, that we cannot stand before him in judgment, but continually need his pardoning mercy. He will indeed graciously admit such appeals, when well grounded; but it is difficult to vindicate ourselves, without seeming to reflect upon his righteousness.-We often disquiet ourselves, and even are led into temptation and sin, by groundless suspicions; and we sometimes find the fear of God where generally issue in shame and sorrow: and rewe least expected it.-Combinations to deceive straints from sin, though by suffering, should thankfully be acknowledged. But though the his people, and for his own glory put honor Lord rebukes, yet he will pardon and deliver

them favor in the sight of those with whom infirmities, when they are humbled for them, they sojourn; and will so over-rule even their that they shall prove an occasion of good to themselves and others.

It is very affecting here again to notice even the father of the faithful' manifesting distrust of God, and undue solicitude about life; equivocating with intent to deceive; relapsing into his former sin; drawing in Sarah to share his guilt, exposing her honor and chastity, and even endangering a question about the legitimacy of his promised Isaac; throwing temptation into Abimelech's way; occasioning afflic-upon them and their prayers. He will give tion to him and his family; exposing himself and Sarah to just rebukes, and yet vainly attempting an excuse. Shall we commend or imitate Abraham in these things? by no means. They are written for our warning, that, "while we think we stand, we may take heed lest we fall." Even "Abraham hath not whereof to glory," but must be justified in "that righteousness of God, which is upon all and unto all them that believe."-We must not condemn all as hypocrites, who relapse into sin, even with aggravation, if they do not continue in it; nor need we ourselves despair, if humbly conscious of having thus relapsed. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed to themselves;

NOTES.

CHAP. XXI. V. 1, 2. The word visit, when thus used, denotes the visible effects of the Lord's presence and power, either in mercy or in judgment. Here it signifies his gracious attention to Sarah, and his faithful accomplish ment of his promise; when in the natural course of things, it could not be expected that she should bear a son.

his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, 'being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear i will laugh with me.

or 1892.

7 And she said, Who would

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15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one

B.C.1893, have said unto Abraham, that of the shrubs.
Sarah should have given children suck?
for I have born him a son in his old age.
8 ¶ And the child grew, and was
weaned: and Abraham made a great
feast the same day that Isaac was wean-
ed.

D

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, P Cast out this bond-woman, and her son: for the son of this bond-woman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

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17:10-12. Lev. 12:3. Luke 1:59. 2:21. John 7:22,23. 17:1,17. Rom. 4:19.

b 17:17. 18:12-15. 1 Sam. 1:26 -28. Ps. 113:9. 126:2. Is. 54: 1. Gal. 4:27.

i Luke 1:14,58. Rom. 12:15.

k Num. 23:23. Deut. 4:32-34. Ps. 86:8. Is. 66:8. 2 Thes. 1: 10.

1 1 Sam. 1:22. Ps. 131:2. Hos. 1:8.

m 16:3-6,15. 17:20.

n 16:1.

o 2 Kings 2:23,24. 2 Chr. 30:10.
36:16. Neh. 4:1-5. Ps. 42:10.
44:13,14. Prov. 20:11. Gal. 4.
29. Heb. 11:36.

p Prov. 22:10. John 8:35. Gal.
4:30,31.

q 17:18. 22:1,2. 2 Sam. 19:33.
Matt. 10:37.

r 1 Sam. 8:7,9. Is. 46: 10.

s 17:19,21. Rom. 9:7,8. Heb.
11:18.

V. 3, 4. Isaac signifies laughter; and this child of promise was so named, in remembrance of Abraham's believing, and Sarah's unbelieving, laughter; and as an expression of joy and gratitude. In this, as well as in circumcising Isaac on the eighth day, Abraham was implicit ly obedient to the commandment of God.

16 And she went, and sat her down over against him, a good way off, as it were a bow-shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him and lifted up her voice and wept.

f

17 And God heard the voice of the lad: and the Angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, ' What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand: for I will make him a great nation.

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water: and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

20 And God was with the lad, and

t 16:10. 17:20. 25:12-18.

u 19:27. 22:3. 24:54. 26:31.
Prov. 27:14.

x 25:6. 36:6,7.

y 16:7. 37:15. Ps. 107:4. Is. 16:

8.

z 33. 22:19. 26:33. 46:1. 1 Kings

19:3.

a 14. Ex. 15:22-25. 17:1-3.
2 Kings 3:9. Ps. 63:1. Is. 44:
12. Jer. 14:3.

b 44:34. Esth. 8:6.

c 27:38. 29:11. Judg. 2:4. Ruth
1:9. 1 Sam. 24:16. 30:4. 2 Sam.

13:36.

d 16:11. Ex. 3:7. 22:27. 2 Kings 13:4,23.

e See on 16:9,11.

f Judg. 18.23. 1 Sam. 11:5. Is. 22:1.

g 15:1. 46:3. Ex. 14:13. Is. 41. 10,14.

h 13. 16:10. 17:20.

Num. 22:31. 2 Kings 6:1720. Luke 24:16,31. k 28:15. 39:2,3,21. Judg. 13-24, 25. Luke 1:80. 2:40.

malice against Isaac.—Sarah, however, seems to have been actuated, in some measure, by disdain and resentment, in requiring Abraham to send away Hagar and Ishmael: yet she was led to utter words, which were afterwards to be made use of in illustrating a most important part of divine truth. (Note, Gal. 4:21-31.)— Abraham was grieved, on account both of Ishmael's misconduct, and Sarah's severity; and he might also be perplexed, how to reconcile the duty, which he owed to his son and to Hagar, with his affection to his wife. But the Lord made his duty plain to him, and shewed him that Ishmael must be sent away, in order that the promises might be fulfilled to Isaac and his Seed.

V. 5-7. The joy of Abraham and Sarah, on this extraordinary occasion, and the congratulations which they would receive from friends and neighbors, were but feeble earnests of the rejoicing of many millions in Him, who descended from Isaac, to bless the nations of the earth. V. 8-12. It is probable, that Isaac was not weaned very early; some think not till he was five years old: and Abraham made a feast on that occasion, as thankfully rejoicing that his son was thus far advanced towards maturity. It appears that Ishmael derided Isaac as the|| child of promise; and that his mocking was a V. 14-19. "Bread and water" denote nekind of persecution, implying profane contempt cessaries for the journey of Hagar and Ishof the covenant and promise of God, and oppo-mael, probably into Egypt to her relations, she sition to his purpose, and some indications of being now liberated from bondage. Ishmael

V. 13. Thy seed.] Ishmael should have many blessings, as Abraham's son; though not the special blessing of being the ancestor of the promised Seed.

he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and] became an archer.

21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

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[Practical Observations.]

22 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, spake unto Abraham, saying, P God is with thee in all that thou doest.

23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son; but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

24 And Abraham said, I will swear. 25 And Abraham 'reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

t

26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it but today.

110:9. 16:12. 25:27. 27:3. 49:23, | q 24:3. 31:53. Josh. 2:12. 1 Sam. 20:42. 24:21,22. 30:15. Heb. 6: 16.

24.

m Num. 10:12. 12:16. 13:3,26. 1 Sam. 25:1.

n 24:3,4. 26:34,35. 27:46, 28:1,2. o 20:2. 26:26.

p26:28. 30:27. 39:3. Is. 8:10. Zech. 8:23. Matt. 1:23. Rev. 3:9.

*Heb. if thou shalt lie unto me.

r 26:15-22. Prov. 17:10. 25:9. 27:5. Matt. 18:15.

s 13:7. Ex. 2:16,17. t2 Kings 5:20-24

was more than sixteen, some think he was nineteen, years of age at this time: yet the provisions were put upon Hagar's shoulder, as more inured to labor; and the lad was committed to her care. No doubt, these circumstances were ordered according to instructions given to Abraham; perhaps for Hagar's humiliation, and with some view to the future state of Ishmael's posterity. She, however, "wandered," or lost her way, in the desert, which may account for the distress which ensued; for it does not appear that the provisions were consumed, or that she was sent away without money. But the water was spent, and the climate was hot; so that Ishmael was overcome with fatigue and thirst, and ready to die; and Hagar assisted him in reaching the shade of some shrubs, and lying down as his circumstances would admit: and, fully expecting that he would die, she sat down at a distance and wept. In this season of deep distress the Lord heard the voice of Ishmael's groaning, perhaps of his prayer, and addressed Hagar by an angel, saying, "What aileth thee, Hagar?" "Fear not:" intimating that the promise, before made to her, (16:10-13.) was a full security that Ishmael should not die at this time, and that therefore her anguish was needless, and her fear groundless. At the same time the Lord directed her attention to the relief, which was near at hand, but which she had not before observed. V. 20, 21. The Lord prospered Ishmael in his outward circumstances: nor can we positively conclude, either from his past misconduct, his general character, or the typical meaning of his expulsion from Abraham's family, that he lived and died destitute of the special

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grace and favor of God. He became, however, an archer and a hunter; and thus the prophecy concerning him began to be accom plished, in his person, as it has been ever since in his posterity. (Note, 16:12.)-We have no reason to conclude, that he was never visited by his father, or that he came no more to see him. (Note, 25:9,10.)

V. 22-24. Abimelech was convinced that the promises of God would be fulfilled to Abraham; and he was therefore desirous of securing his friendship, and the benefit of it, to himself, to his posterity, and to his people.-Perhaps he too was a true believer: at least his character seems not at all inconsistent with that supposition. (Notes, 1 Sam. 20:12-17.)-Phichol.] Note, 26:26.

V. 25, 26. Wells of water, being scarce, were very valuable in those countries. (Marg. Ref. r.)

V. 31. Beer-sheba.] The well of the oath. or, The well of the seven, alluding to the seven ewe lambs. Perhaps these were given to Abimelech, as the proprietor of the land, in which the well was digged, and as the rent of it, that the well might be the more clearly Abraham's property.-The verb rendered "to swear," is derived from the word translated seven; probably with reference to the number of the sacrifices frequently offered on these solemn occasions.

V. 32. Into the land of the Philistines.] That is, to Gerar. Beer-sheba seems at that time to have been under the dominion of the king of the Philistines: (33.) but it was not generally considered as a part of Philistia.

V. 33. Perhaps Abraham planted this grove to shelter his tent; and to form a shade for the

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