Obrazy na stronie

3 And he went on his journeys from the south, even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai;

4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

e c. 12. 7, 8. Ps. 42. 1, 2. 84. 10. d Ps. 116. 17. 145. 18.


V. 1-4. Here is, I. Abram's return out of Egypt, v. 1. He came himself, and brought all his with him, back again to Canaan. Note, Though there may be occasion to go sometimes into places of temptation, yet we must hasten out of them as soon as possible. See

Ruth 1. 6.

II. His wealth, v. 2, He was very rich. He was very heavy, so the Hebrew word signifies. For riches are a burden, and they that will be rich, do but load themselves with thick clay, Hab. 2. 6. There is a burden of care in getting them, fear in keep ing them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account, at last, to be given up concerning them. Great possessions do but make men heavy and unwieldy. Abram was not only rich in faith and good works, and in the promises, but he was rich in cattle, and in silver and gold. Note, 1. God, in his providence, sometimes makes good men rich men, and teaches them how to abound, as well as how to suffer want. 2. The riches of good men are the fruits of God's blessing. God had said to Abram, I will bless thee; and that blessing made him rich without sorrow, Prov. 10. 22. 3. True piety will very well consist with great prosperity. Though it is hard for a rich man to get to heaven, yet it is not impossible, Mark 10. 23, 24. Abram was very rich, and yet very religious. Nay, as piety is a friend to outward prosperity, 1 Tim. 4. 8, so outward prosperity, if well managed, is an ornament to piety, and an opportunity of doing so much the more good.

6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle, and the herdmen of Lot's cattle. And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no

IV. His devotion there. His altar was gone, so that he could not offer sacrifice; but he called on the name of the Lord, as he had done, ch. 12. 8. Note, 1. All God's people are praying people. You may as soon find a man living without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. 2. Those that would approve themselves upright with their God, must be constant and persevering in the services of religion. Abram did not leave his religion behind him in Egypt, as many do in their travels. 3. When we cannot do what we would, we must make conscience of doing what we can, in the acts of devotion. When we want an altar, let us not be wanting in prayer, but, wherever we are, call on the name of the Lord.

V. 5-9. We have here an unhappy falling-out between Abram and Lot, who had hitherto been inseparable companions, (see v. 1, and ch. 12. 4;) but now parted.

I. The occasion of their quarrel was their riches. We read, v. 2, how rich Abram was; now here we are told, v. 5, that Lot which went with Abram, was rich too; God blessed him with riches, because he went with Abram. Note, 1. It is good being in good company, and going with those with whom God is, Zech. 8. 23. 2. Those that are partners with God's people in their obedience and sufferings, shall be sharers with them in their joys and comforts, Is. 66. 10. Now, they both being very rich, the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell comfortably and peaceably together. So that their riches may be considered, (1.) As setting them at a distance one from another; because the place was too strait for them, and they had not room for their stock, it was necessary that they should live asunder. Note, Every comfort in this world has its cross artending it. Business is a comfort: but it has this inconvenience in it, that it allows us not the society of those we love, so often, nor so long, as we could wish. (2.) As setting them at variance one with another. Note, Riches are often an occasion of strife and contention among relations and neighbours. This is one of those foolish and hurtful lusts, which they that will be rich, fall into, 1 Tim. 6. 9. Riches not only afford matter for contention, and are the things most commonly striven about but they also stir up a spirit of contention, by making people proud and covetous. Meum and tuum-Mine and Thine, are the great make-bates of the world. Poverty and travail, wants and wanderings, could not separate between Abram and Lot; but riches did it. Friends are soon lost; but God is a Friend

ec. 36. 7. f c. 34. 30. from whose love neither the height of prosperity, nor the depth of adversity, shall separate us.

II. The immediate instruments of the quarrel were their ser vants. The strife began between the herdmen of Abram's cattle, and the herdmen of Lot's cattle, v. 7. They strove, it is proba ble, which should have the better pasture, or the better water; and both interested their masters in the quarrel. Note, Bad servants often make a great deal of mischief in families, by their pride and passion, their lying, slandering, and talebearing. It is a very wicked thing for servants to do ill offices between relations and neighbours, and to sow discord; those that do so, are the Devil's agents, and their masters' worst enemies.

III. His removal to Beth-el, v. 3, 4. Thither he went, not only because there he had formerly had his tent, and he was willing to go among his old acquaintance; but because there he had, formerly, had his altar: and, though the altar was gone, (probably, he himself having taken it down, when he left the 1. His petition for peace was very affectionate. Let there place, lest it should be polluted by the idolatrous Canaanites,) be no strife, I pray thee. Abram here shows himself to be a yet he came to the place of the altar, either to revive the remem- man, (1.) Of a cool spirit, that had the command of his passion, brance of the sweet communion he had had with God in that and knew how to turn away wrath with a soft answer. Those place, or, perhaps, to pay the vows he had there made to God that would keep the peace, must never render railing for railing. when he undertook his journey into Egypt. Long afterward, (2.) Of a condescending spirit; he was willing to beseech even God sent Jacob to this same place, on that errand, ch. 35. 1, his inferior to be at peace, and made the first overture of reconGo up to Beth-el, where thou vowedst the vow. We have need ciliation. Conquerors reckon it their glory to give peace by to be reminded, and should take all occasions to remind our-power; and it is no less so to give peace by the meekness of selves, of our solemn vows; and perhaps the place where they wisdom. Note, The people of God should always approve were made, may help to bring them fresh to mind, and it may themselves a peaceable people; whatever others are for, they therefore do us good to visit it. must be for peace.

2. His plea for peace was very cogent. (1.) "Let there be no strife between me and thee. Let the Canaanites and Perizzites contend about trifles; but let not me and thee fall out, who know better things, and look for a better country." Note, Professors of religion should, of all others, be careful to avoid contention. Ye shall not be so, Luke 22. 26. We have no such custom, 1 Cor. 11. 16. "Let there be no strife between me and thee, who have lived together and loved one another so long." Note, The remembrance of old friendships should quickly put an end to new quarrels which at any time happen. (2.) Let it be remembered that we are brethren, Heb. We are men brethren; a double argument. [1.] We are men; and, as men, we are mortal creatures, we may die to-morrow, and are concerned to be found in peace; we are rational creatures, and should be ruled by reason. We are men, and not brutes, men, and not children; we are sociable creatures, let us be so to the uttermost. [2.] We are brethren. Men of the same nature, of the same kindred and family, of the same religion; companions in obedience, companions in patience. Note, The consideration of our relation to each other, as brethren, should always prevail to moderate our passions, and either to prevent, or put an end to, our contentions. Brethren should love as brethren.

3. His proposal for peace was very fair. Many who profess to be for peace, yet will do nothing towards it; but Abram hereby approved himself a real friend to peace, that he proposed an unexceptionable expedient for the preserving of it, v. 9, Is not the whole land before thee? As if he had said, "Why should we quarrel for room, while there is room enough for us both?" (1.) He concludes that they must part, and is very desirous that they should part friends. Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me. What could be expressed more affectionately? He does not expel him, and force him away, but advises that he should separate himself. Nor does he charge him to depart, but humbly desires him to withdraw. Note, Those that have power to command, yet, sometimes, for love's sake, and peace' sake, should rather beseech, as Paul Philemon, v. 8, 9. When the great God condescends to beseech us, we may well afford to beseech one another, to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 20. (2.) He offers him a sufficient share of the land they were in. Though God had promised Abram to give this land to his seed, ch. 12. 7, and it does not appear that ever any such promise was made to Lot, which Abram might have insisted on, to the total exclu

III. The aggravation of the quarrel was, that the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land; this made the quarrel, 1. Very dangerous; if Abram and Lot cannot agree to feed their flocks together, it is well if the common enemy do not come upon them, and plunder them both. Note, The division of families and churches often proves the ruin of them. 2. Very scandalous. No doubt, the eyes of all the neighbours were upon them, especially because of the singularity of their religion, and the extraordinary sanctity they professed; and notice would soon be taken of this quarrel, and improvement made of it, to their reproach, by the Canaanites and Perizzites. Note, The quarrels of professors are the reproach of profession, and give occasion, as much as any thing, to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.

IV. The making up of this quarrel was very happy. It is best to preserve the peace, that it be not broken; but the next best is, if differences do happen, with all speed to accommodate them, and quench the fire that is broken out. The motion for staying this strife was made by Abram, though he was the senior and superior relation, v. 8.

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sion of Lot; yet he allows him to come in partner with him, and tenders an equal share to one that had not an equal right, and will not make God's promise to patronize his quarrel, nor under the protection of that, put any hardship upon his kinsman. (3.) He gives him his choice, and offers to take up with his leavings; If thou wilt take the left hand, I will go to the right. There was all the reason in the world that Abram should choose first; yet he recedes from his right. Note, It is a noble conquest, to be willing to yield for peace' sake; it is the conquest of ourselves, and our own pride and passion, Matt. 5. 39, 40. It is not only the punctilios of honour, but even interest itself, that, in many cases, must be sacrificed to peace.

V. 10-13. We have here the choice that Lot made when he parted from Abram; upon this occasion, one would have expected, I. That he should have expressed an unwillingness to part from Abram, and that, at least, he should have done it with reluctancy. 2. That he should have been so civil as to have remitted the choice back again to Abram. But we find not any instance of deference or respect to his uncle, in the whole management. Abram having offered him the choice, without compliment he accepted it, and made his election. Passion and selfishness make men rude. Now, in the choice which Lot made, we may observe,

I. How much he had an eye to the goodness of the land. He beheld all the plain of Jordan, the flat country in which Sodom stood, that it was admirably well watered every where, (and perhaps the strife had been about water, which made him particularly fond of that convenience,) and so Lot chose him all that plain, v. 10, 11. That valley which was like the garden of Eden itself, now yielded him a most pleasant prospect; it was, in his eye, beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth; and therefore he doubted not that it would yield him a comfortable settlement, and that in such a fruitful soil he should certainly thrive, and grow very rich; and this was all he looked at. But what came of it? Why, the next news we hear of him is, that he is in the briers among them, he and his carried captive; while he lived among them, he vexed his righteous soul with their conversation, and never had a good day with them, till, at last, God fired the town over his head, and forced him to the mountain for safety, who chose the plain for wealth | and pleasure. Note, Sensual choices are sinful choices, and seldom speed well. Those who in choosing relations, callings, dwellings, or settlements, are guided and governed by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, or the pride of life, and consult not the interests of their souls and their religion, cannot expect God's presence with them, nor his blessing upon them, but are commonly disappointed even in that which they principally aimed at, and miss of that which they promised themselves satisfaction in. In all our choices, this principle should us, That that is the best for us, which is best for our

overrule souls.

II. How little he considered the badness of the inhabitants. But the men of Sodom were wicked, v. 13. Note, 1. Though all are sinners, yet some are greater sinners than others; the men of Sodom were sinners of the first magnitude, sinners before the Lord, that is, impudent daring sinners; they were so to a proverb; hence we read of those that declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not, Is. 3. 9. 2. That some sinners are the worse for living in a good land. So the Sodomites were; for this was the iniquity of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness; and all these were supported by the great plenty their country afforded, Ez. 16. 49. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them. 3. That God often gives great plenty to great sinners. Filthy Sodomites dwell in a city, a fruitful plain, while faithful Abram and his pious family dwell in tents upon the barren mountains. 4. When wickedness is come to the height, ruin is not far off. Abounding sins are sure presages of approaching judgments. Now Lot's coming to dwell among the Sodomites may be considered, (1.) As a great mercy to them, and a likely means of bringing them to repentance; for now they had a prophet among them, and a preacher of righteousness; if they had hearkened to him, they might have been reformed, and the ruin prevented. Note, God sends

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preachers, before he sends destroyers; for he is not willing that any should perish. (2.) As a great affliction to Lot, who was not only grieved to see their wickedness, (2 Pet. 2. 7, 8,) but was molested and persecuted by them, because he would not do as they did. Note, It has often been the vexatious lot of good men, to live among wicked neighbours, to sojourn in Mesech, (Ps. 120. 5,) and it cannot but be the more grievous, if, as Lot here, they have brought it upon themselves by an unadvised choice.

V. 14-18. We have here an account of a gracious visit which God made to Abram, to confirm the promise to him and his. Observe,

I. When it was that God renewed and ratified the promise; after that Lot was separated from him, that is, 1. After the quarrel was over; for those are best prepared for the visits of divine grace, whose spirits are calm and sedate, and not ruffled with any passion. 2. After Abram's humble self-denying condescensions to Lot for the preserving of peace; it was then that God came to him with this token of his favour. Note, God will abundantly make up in spiritual peace, what we lose for the preserving of neighbourly peace. When Abram had willingly offered Lot one half of his right, God came, and confirmed the whole to him. 3. After he had lost the comfortable society of his kinsman, by whose departure his hands were weakened, and his heart saddened; then God came to him with these good words, and comfortable words. Note, Communion with God may, at any time, serve to make up the want of conversation with our friends; when our relations are separated from us, yet God is not. 4. After Lot had chosen that pleasant, fruitful vale, and was gone to take possession of it; lest Abram should be tempted to envy him, and to repent that he had given him the choice, God comes to him, and assures him that what he had should remain to him and his heirs for ever; so that though Lot perhaps had the better land, yet Abram had the better title; Lot had the paradise, such as it was, but Abram had the promise; and the event soon made it appear that, however it seemed now, Abram had really the better part. See Job 22. 20. God owned Abram after his strife with Lot, as the churches did Paul after his strife with Barnabas, Acts 15. 39, 40.

II. The promises themselves which God now comforted and enriched Abram with. Two things he assures him of; a good land, and a numerous issue to enjoy it.


1. Here is the grant of a good land, a land famous above all lands, for it was to be the holy land, and Immanuel's land; this is the land here spoken of. (1.) God here shows Abram the land, as he had promised, (ch. 12. 1,) and afterward he showed it to Moses from the top of Pisgah. Lot had lifted up his eyes, and be held the plain of Jordan, (v. 10,) and he was gone to enjoy what he saw: Come," says God to Abram, "now lift thou up thine eyes, and look, and see thine own." Note, That which God has to show us, is infinitely better and more desirable than any thing that the world has to offer to our view. The prospects of an eye of faith are much more rich and beautiful than those of an eye of sense. Those for whom the heavenly Canaan is designed in the other world, have sometimes, by faith, a comfortable prospect of it in their present state; for we look at the things that are not seen, as real, though distant. (2.) He secures this land to him and his seed for ever; (v. 15,) To thee will I give it and again, (v. 17,) I will give it unto thee; every repetition of the promise is a ratification of it. To thee and thy seed, not to Lot and his seed; they were not to have their inheritance in this land, and therefore Providence so ordered it, that he should be separated from Abram first, and then the grant should be confirmed to him and his seed; thus God often brings good out of evil, and makes men's sins and follies subservient to his own wise and holy counsels. To thee and thy seed; to thee, to sojourn in as a stranger; to thy seed, to dwell and rule in as proprietors. To thee, that is, to thy seed. The granting it to him and his for ever, intimates that it was typical of the heavenly Canaan, which is given to the spiritual seed of Abram for ever, Heb. 11. 14. (3.) He gives him livery and seisin of it, though it was a reversion, v. 17, “Arise, walk


We have four things in the story of this chapter. I. A war with the king of Sodom and his allies, v. 1-11. II. The captivity of Lot in that war, v. 12. III.Hazezontamar. Abram's rescue of Lot from that captivity, with the victory he obtained over the conquerors, v. 13-16. IV. Abram's return from that expedition, (v. 17,) with an account of what passed, 1. Between him and the king of Salem, v. 18-20. 2. Between him and the king of Sodom, v. 21-24. So that here we have that promise to Abram, in part, fulfilled, that God would make his name great.

ND it came to pass in the days of Amraphel dorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2 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 is Zoar.

3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedoriaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh-kiriathaim;

6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat,

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through the land. Enter and take possession, survey the parcels, and it will appear better than upon a distant prospect.' Note, God is willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his covenant, and the inestimable worth of covenant-blessings. Go, walk about Zion, Ps. 48. 12. 2. Here is the promise of a numerous issue to replenish this good land, so that it should never be lost for want of heirs, v. 16, I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, that is, "They shall increase incredibly, and, take them altogether, they shall be such a great multitude as no man can number." They were so in Solomon's time, I Kings 4. 20: Judah and Israel were many as the sand which is by the sea in multitude. This God here gives him the promise of. Note, The same God that provides the inheritance, provides the heirs. He that has prepared the holy land, prepares the holy seed; he that gives glory, gives grace to make meet for glory.

Lastly, We are told what Abram did, when God had thus confirmed the promise to him, v. 12. 1. He removed his tent. God bid him walk through the land, that is, "Do not think of fixing in it, but expect to be always unsettled, and walking through it to a better Canaan ;" in compliance with God's will herein, he removes his tent, conforming himself to the condition of a pilgrim. 2. He builded there an altar, in token of his thankfulness to God for the kind visit he had made him. Note, When God meets us with gracious promises, he expects that we should attend him with our humble praises.


which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in


V. 1-12. We have here an account of the first war that ever we read of in scripture, which (though the wars of the nations make the greatest figure in history) we had not had the record of, if Abram and Lot had not been concerned in it. Now concerning this war, we may observe,

I. The parties engaged in it. The invaders were four kings; two of them no less than kings of Shinar and Elam, that is, Chaldea and Persia; yet, probably, not the sovereign princes of those great kingdoms in their own persons, but either officers under them, or rather the heads and leaders of some colonies which came out of those great nations, and settled themselves near Sodom, but retained the names of the countries from which they had their original. The invaded were the kings of five cities that lay near together in the plain of Jordan; Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. Four of them are named, but not the fifth, the king of Bela; either because he was much more mean and inconsiderable, or because he was much more wicked and inglorious, than the rest, and worthy to be forgotten.

II. The occasion of this war was, the revolt of the five kings from under the government of Chedorlaomer. Twelve years they served him. Small joy had they of their fruitful land, while thus they were tributaries to a foreign power, and could not call what they had their own. Rich countries are a desirable prey, and idle luxurious countries are an easy prey, to growing greatness. The Sodomites were the posterity of Canaan whom Noah had pronounced a servant to Shem, from whom Elam descended; thus soon did that prophecy begin to be fulfilled. In the 13th year, beginning to be weary of their subjection, they rebelled, denied their tribute, and attempted to shake off the yoke, and retrieve their ancient liberties. In the 14th year, after some pause and preparation, Chedorlaumer, in conjunction with his allies, set himself to chastise the rebels, to reduce the revolters; and, since he could not have it otherwise, to fetch his tribute from them upon the point of his sword. Note, Pride, covetousness, and ambition, are the lusts from

8 And 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 of Siddim,

9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.

10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and 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.

12 And they took 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; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

the plain of Kiriathaim. tor, plain of Paran. A c. 21. 21. Num. 12. 16. i 2 Chr. 20. 2. j c. 19. 17, 30. c. 13. 12. Num. 16. 26. 1 Tim. 6. 9. c. 13. 18.

which wars and fighting come. To those insatiable idols, the blood of thousands has been sacrificed.

III. The progress and success of the war. The four kings laid the neighbouring country waste, and enriched themselves with the spoil of them, v. 5-7, upon the alarm of which, it had been the wisdom of the king of Sodom to submit, and desire conditions of peace; for how could he grapple with an enemy thus flushed with victory? But he would rather venture the utmost extremity than yield, and it sped accordingly; Quos Deus destruct, eos dementat-Those whom God means to destroy, he delivers up to infatuation.

1. The forces of the king of Sodom and his allies were routed; and, it should seem, many of them perished in the slime-pits, who had escaped the sword, v. 10. In all places, we are surrounded with deaths of various kinds, especially in the field of battle.

2. The cities were plundered, v. 11. All the goods of Sodom, and particularly their stores and provisions of victuals, were carried off by the conquerors. Note, When men abuse the gifts of a bountiful providence to gluttony and excess, it is just with God, and his usual way, by some judgment or other, to strip them of that which they have so abused, Hos. 2. 8, 9.

3. Lot was carried captive, v. 12. They took Lot among the rest, and his goods. Now Lot may here be considered, (1.) As sharing with his neighbours in this common calamity. Though he was himself a righteous man, and (which here is expressly noticed) Abram's brother's son, yet he was involved with the rest in this trouble. Note, [1.] All things come alike to all, Ec. 9. 2. The best of men cannot promise themselves to be exempted from the greatest troubles in this life; neither our own piety, nor our relation to those who are the favourites of heaven, will be our security, when God's judgments are abroad. [2] Many an honest man fares the worse for his wicked neighbours; it is therefore our wisdom to separate ourselves, or, at least, to distinguish ourselves from them, 2 Cor. 6. 17, and so deliver ourselves, Rev. 18. 4. (2.) As smarting for the foolish choice he made of a settlement here: this is plainly intimated here, when it is said, They took Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom. So near a relation of Abram should have been a companion and disciple of Abram, and should have abode by his tents; but if he choose to dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself, if he share in Sodom's calamities. Note, When we go out of the way of our duty, we put ourselves from under God's protection, and cannot expect that the choices which are made by our lusts, should issue to our comfort. Particular mention is made of their taking Lot's goods, those goods which had occasioned his contest with Abram, and his separation from him. Note, It is just with God to deprive us of those enjoyments by which we have suffered ourselves to be deprived of our enjoyment of him.

V. 13-16. We have here an account of the only military action we ever find Abram engaged in; and this he was prompted to not by his avarice or ambition, but purely by a principle of charity; it was not to enrich himself, but to help his friend. Never was any military expedition undertaken, prosecuted, and finished, more honourably than this of Abram's. Here is,

I. The tidings brought him of his kinsman's distress. Providence so ordered it, that he now sojourned not far off, that he might be a very present help. 1. He is here called Abram the Hebrew, that is, the son and follower of Heber, in whose family the profession of the true religion was kept up in that degene Abram herein acted like a Hebrew-in a manner not unworthy the name and character of a religious professor.

rate age.

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he *armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them munto Dan.

15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and "smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

⚫or, led forth. tor, instructed. m Deut. 34. 1. n Is. 41. 2, 3. o 1 Sam. 30. 8, 18. p 1 Sam. 18. 6.

2. The tidings were brought by one that had escaped with his life for a prey. Probably, he was a Sodomite, and as bad as the worst of them; yet, knowing Abram's relation to Lot, and concern for him, he implores his help, and hopes to speed for Lot's sake. Note, The worst of men, in the day of their trouble, will be glad to claim acquaintance with those that are wise and good, and so get an interest in them. The rich man in hell, called Abram Futher; and the foolish virgins make court to the wise for a share of their oil.

II. The preparations he made for this expedition. The cause was plainly good, his call to engage in it was clear; and therefore, with all speed, he armed his trained servants, born in his house, to the number of three hundred and eighteen. A great family, but a small army, about as many as Gideon's, that routed the Midianites, Judg. 7. 7. He drew out his trained servants, or his catechised servants, not only instructed in the art of war, which was then far short of the perfection which later and worse ages have improved it to, but instructed in the principles of religion; for Abram commanded his household to keep the way of the Lord. This shows that Abram was, 1. A great man, who had so many servants depending upon him, and employed by him; which was not only his strength and honour, but gave him a great opportunity of doing good, which is all that is truly valuable and desirable in great places and great estates. 2. A good man, who not only served God himself, but instructed all about him in the service of God. Note, Those that have great families, have not only many bodies, but many souls beside their own, to take care of and provide for. Those that would be found the followers of Abram, must see that their servants be catechised servants. 3. A wise man; for though he was a man of peace, yet he disciplined his servants for war, not knowing what occasion he might have, some time or other, so to employ them. Note, Though our holy religion teaches us to be for peace, yet it does not forbid us to provide for war.

IV. His courage and conduct were very remarkable. 1. There was a great deal of bravery in the enterprise itself, considering the disadvantages he lay under. What could one family of husbandmen and shepherds do against the armies of four princes, who now came fresh from blood and victory? It was not a vanquished, but a victorious army, that he was to pursue; nor was he constrained by necessity to this daring attempt, but moved to it by generosity; so that, all things considered, it was, for aught I know, as great an instance of true courage as ever Alexander or Cæsar was celebrated for. Note, Religion tends to make men, not cowardly, but truly valiant. The righteous is bold as a lion. The true Christian is the true hero. 2. There was a great deal of policy in the management of it. Abram was no stranger to the stratagems of war; he divided himself, as Gideon did his little army, Judg. 7. 16, that he might come upon the enemy from several quarters at once, and so make his few seem a great many; he made his attack by night, that he might surprise them. Note, Honest policy is a good friend both to our safety, and to our usefulness. The serpent's head (provided it be nothing akin to the old serpent) may well become a good Christian's body, especially if it have a dove's eye in it, Matt. 10. 16.

17 And the king of Sodom 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, which is the king's dale.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most 'high God.

19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, "possessor of heaven and earth;

V. His success was very considerable, v. 15, 16. He defeated his enemies, and rescued his friends; and we do not find that he sustained any loss. Note, Those that venture in a good cause, with a good heart, are under the special protection of a good God, and have reason to hope for a good issue. Again, It is all one with the Lord to save by many or by few,

1 Sam. 14. 6. Observe,

q 2 Sam. 18. 18. Heb. 7. 1. s Ps. 110. 4. Heb. 5. 6. 7. 3, 11. ? Mic. 6. 6
u ver. 22. Ps. 24.1. 50. 10.

braided Lot with his folly in quarrelling with him and removing
from him, and have told him that he was well enough served,
he might have known when he was well off: but, in the chari-
table breast of pious Abram, it is all forgiven and forgotten;
and he takes this opportunity to give a real proof of the sin-
cerity of his reconciliation. Note, (1.) We ought to be ready,
whenever it is in the power of our hands, to succour and relieve
those that are in distress, especially our relations and friends.
A brother is born for adversity, Prov. 17. 17. A friend in need
is a friend indeed. (2.) Though others have been wanting in
their duty to us, yet we must not therefore deny our duty to
them. Some have said that they can more easily forgive their
enemies than their friends: but we shall see ourselves obliged
to forgive both, if we consider, not only that our God, when
we were enemies, reconciled us, but also that he passeth by the
transgression of the remnant of his heritage, Mic. 7. 18.

2. He rescued the rest of the captives, for Lot's sake; though
they were strangers to him, and such as he was under no
obligation to at all; nay, though they were Sodomites, sinners
before the Lord exceedingly, and though, probably, he might
have recovered Lot alone by ransom; yet he brought back all
the women and the people, and their goods, v. 16. Note, As
we have opportunity, we must do good to all men. Our charity
must be extensive, as opportunity offers itself. Wherever God
gives life, we must not grudge the help we can give to support
it. God does good to the just and unjust, and so must we,
Matt. 5. 45. This victory which Abram obtained over the
kings, the prophet seems to refer to, Is. 41. 2, Who raised
up the righteous man from the east, and made him rule over
kings? And some suggest that as before, he had a title to this
land by grant, so now, by conquest.

III. His allies and confederates in this expedition. He pre-
vailed with his neighbours, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, (with I. Who he was. He was king of Salem and priest of the
whom he kept up a fair correspondence,) to go along with him. most high God; and other glorious things are said of him,
It was his prudence thus to strengthen his own troops with Heb. 7. 1, &c. 1. The rabbins, and most of our rabbinical
their auxiliary forces; and, probably, they saw themselves con-writers, conclude that Melchizedek was Shem the son of
cerned, in interest, to act, as they could, against this formida- Noah, who was king and priest to those that descended from
ble power, lest their own turn should be next. Note, 1. It is him, according to the patriarchal model. But this is not at all
our wisdom and duty to behave ourselves so respectfully and probable; for why should his name be changed? And how
obligingly towards all men, as that, whenever there is occasion, came he to settle in Canaan? 2. Many Christian writers
they may be willing and ready to do us a kindness. 2. Those have thought that this was an appearance of the son of God
who depend on God's help, yet, in times of distress, ought to himself, our Lord Jesus, known to Abram, at this time, by this
make use of men's help, as Providence offers it; else they name, as, afterward, Hagar called him by another name,
tempt God.
ch. 16. 13. He appeared to him as a righteous king, owning
a righteous cause, and giving peace. It is hard to think that
any mere man should be said to be without father, without
mother, and without descent, having neither beginning of days,
ner end of life, Heb. 7. 3. It is witnessed of Melchizedek, that
he liveth, and that he abideth a priest continually, v. 3, 8; nay,
v. 13, 14, the apostle makes him of whom these things are spoken,
to be our Lord who sprang out of Judah. It is likewise hard
to think that any mere man should, at this time, be greater
than Abram in the things of God, and that Christ should be a
priest after the order of any mere man, and that any human
priesthood should so far excel that of Aaron as it is certain
that Melchizedek's did. 3. The most received opinion is, that
Melchizedek was a Canaanite prince, that reigned in Salem,
and kept up the true religion there; but if so, why he should
occur here only in all the story of Abram, why Abram should
have altars of his own, and not attend the altars of his neigh-
bour Melchizedek who was greater than he, seems unac-
countable. Mr. Gregory of Oxford tells us, that the Arabic
Catena, which he builds much upon the authority of, gives this
account of Melchizedek: That he was the son of Heraclim,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, and that his mother's name
was Salathiel, the daughter of Gomer, the son of Japheth, the
son of Noah.

II. What he did. 1. He brought forth bread and wine, for the refreshment of Abram and his soldiers, and in congratulation of their victory. This he did as a king, teaching us to do good and to communicate, and to be given to hospitality, according to our ability; and representing the spiritual provisions of strength and comfort which Christ has laid up for us 1. He rescued his kinsman; twice here he is called his in the covenant of grace for our refreshment, when we are brother Lot; the remembrance of the relation that was between wearied with our spiritual conflicts. 2. As priest of the most them, both by nature and grace, made him forget the little quar-high God, he blessed Abram, which we may suppose a greater rel that had been between them, in which Lot had by no means refreshment to Abram than his bread and wine were. Thus acted well towards Abram. Justly might Abram have up- God, having raised up his son Jesus, has sent him to bless

V. 17-20. This paragraph begins with the mention of the respect which the king of Sodom paid to Abram, at his return from the slaughter of the kings; but before a particular account is given of that, the story of Melchizedek is briefly related. Concerning whom, observe,

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20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,

23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

24 Save that which the

men have

eaten, and the portion of the men which went wire me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

Heb. 7. 1-10. • souls. Ex. 6.8. v. 19. c. 21. 23. y Esth. 9. 15, 16. z 1 Tim. 5. 18. a c. 45. 2. Num. 12. 6. Dan. 10. 1. Acts 10. 11, 22.

L. The king of Sodom's grateful offer to Abram, v. 21, Give me the soul, and take thou the substance: so the Hebrew reads it. Here he fairly begs the persons, but as freely bestows the goods on Abram. Note, 1. Where a right is dubious and divided, it is wisdom to compound the matter by mutual concessions rather than to contend. The king of Sodom had an original right both to the persons and to the goods, and it would bear a debate whether Abram's acquired right by rescue would supersede his title, and extinguish it; but, to prevent all quarrels, the king of Sodom makes this fair proposal. 2. Gratitude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our power those that have undergone fatigues, run hazards, and been at expense, for our service and benefit. Who goes a warfare at his own charges? 1 Cor. 9. 7. Soldiers purchase their pay dearer than any labourers, and are well worthy of it, because they expose their lives.

II. Abram's generous refusal of this offer. He not only resigned the persons to him, who, being delivered out of the hand of their enemies, ought to have served Abram, but he restored all the goods too. He would not take from a thread to a shoe-latchet, not the least thing that ever belonged to the king of Sodom or any of his. Note, A lively faith enables a man to look upon the wealth of this world with a holy contempt, VOL. I.-10


In this chapter, we have a solemn treaty between God and Abram, concerning a Covenant that was to be established between them. In the former chapter, we had Abram in the field with kings, here in the mount with God; and though there he looked great, yet, methinks, here he looks much greater; that honour have the great men of the world, but this honour have all the sainte. The covenant to be settled between God and Abram, was a covenant of promises; accordingly, here is, I. A general assurance of God's kindness and good will to Abram, v. 1. II. A particular declaration of the purposes of his love concerning him, in two things: 1. That he would give him a numerous issue, v.2-6. 2. That he would give him Canaan for an inheritance, v. 7-21. Either an estate without an heir, or an heir without an estate, would have been but a half comfort to Abram. But God ensures both to him; and that which made these two, the promised seed, and the promised land, comforts indeed to this great believer, was, that they were both typical of those two invaluable blessings, Christ and heaven; and so, we have reason to think, Abram eyed thein.

AFTER these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a "vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding dgreat reward.

b Luke 1. 13. c Deut. 33. 29. P. 3. 3. 84. 11. 91.4. 119. 114. Prov. 30. 5. d Ps. 142. 5. Lam. 3. 24. Heb. 13. 5.

1 John 5. 4. What are all the ornaments and delights of sense to one that has God and heaven ever in his eye? He resolves even to a thread and a shoe-latchet; for a tender conscience fears offending in a small matter.

us, as one having authority; and those whom he blesses, are blessed indeed. Christ went to heaven when he was blessing his disciples, Luke 24. 51, for that is it which he ever lives to do. III. What he said, v. 19, 20. Two things were said by him, 1. He blessed Abram from God, v. 19, Blessed be Abram, blessed of the most high God. Observe the titles he here gives to God, which are very glorious: (1.) The most high God, which bespeaks his absolute perfections in himself, and his sovereign dominion over all the creatures; he is King of kings. Note, It will greatly help both our faith and our reverence in prayer, to eye God as the most high God, and to call him so. (2.) Possessor of heaven and earth, that is, rightful Owner, and sovereign Lord of all the creatures; because he made them. This bespeaks him a great God, and greatly to be praised, Ps. 24. 1, and them a happy people who have an interest in his favour and love. 2. He blessed God for Abram, v. 20, and blessed be the most high God. Note, (1.) In all our prayers we must praise God, and join Hallelujahs with all our Hosannahs. These are the spiritual sacrifices we must offer up daily, and upon particular occasions. (2.) God, as the most high God, must have the glory of all our victories, Ex. 17. 15. 1 Sam. 7. 10, 12. Judg. 5. 1, 2. 2 Chr. 20. 21. In them he shows himself higher than our enemies, Ex. 18. 11, and higher than we; for without him we could do nothing. (3.) We ought to give thanks for others' mercies as for our own; triumphing with them that triumph. (4.) Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is the Mediator both of our prayers and praises, and not only offers up our's, but his own for us. See Luke 10. 21. IV. What was done to him. Abram gave him tithes of all, that is, of the spoils, Heb. 7. 4. This may be looked upon, 1. As a gratuity presented to Melchizedek, by way of return for his tokens of respect. Note, They that receive kindness should show kindness. Gratitude is one of nature's laws. 2. As an offering vowed and dedicated to the most high God, and therefore put into the hands of Melchizedek his priest. Note, (1.) When we have received some signal mercy from 2. He backs his refusal with a good reason, Lest thou God, it is very fit that we should express our thankfulness by shouldest say, I have made Abram rich; which would reflect some special act of pious charity. God must always have his reproach, (1.) Upon the promise and covenant of God, as if dues out of our substance; especially when, by any particular they would not have enriched Abram without the spoils of providence, he has either preserved or increased it to us. Sodom. And, (2.) Upon the piety and charity of Abram, (2.) That the tenth of our increase is a very fit proportion to as if all he had in his eye, when he undertook that hazardous be set apart for the honour of God, and the service of his sanc-expedition, was to enrich himself. Note, [1.] We must be tuary. (3.) That Jesus Christ, our great Melchizedek, is to very careful that we give not occasion to others to say things have homage done him, and to be humbly acknowledged by which they ought not. [2.] The people of God must, for their every one of us as our King and Priest; and not only the tithe credit's sake, take heed of doing any thing that looks mean or of all, but all we have, must be surrendered and given up to him. mercenary, or that savours of covetousness and self-seeking. V. 21-24. We have here an account of what passed Probably, Abram knew the king of Sodom to be a proud and between Abram and the king of Sodom, who succeeded him scornful man, and one that would, though most unreasonably, that fell in the battle, v. 10, and thought himself obliged to do be apt to turn such a thing as this to his reproach afterward; this honour to Abram, in return for the good services he had when we have to do with such men, we have need to act with done him. particular caution. Here is,

Now, 1. Abram ratifies this resolution with a solemn oath. I have lift up mine hand to the Lord, that I will not take any thing, v. 22. Here observe, (1.) The titles he gives to God, The most high God, the Possessor of heaven and earth, the same that Melchizedek had just now used, v. 19. Note, It is good to learn of others how to order our speech concerning God, and to imitate those who speak well in divine things. This improvement we are to make of the conversation of devout good men, we must learn to speak after them. (2.) The ceremony used in this oath, I have lift up my hand. In religious swearing we appeal to God's knowledge of our truth and sincerity, and imprecate his wrath if we swear falsely; the lifting up of the hand is very significant and expressive of both. (3.) The matter of the oath, namely, that he would not take any reward from the king of Sodom, was lawful, but what he was not antecedently obliged to. [1.] Probably, Abram vowed, before he went to the battle, that if God would give him success, he would, for the glory of God, and the credit of his profession, so far deny himself and his own right, as to take nothing of the spoils to himself. Note, The vows we have made when we are in pursuit of a mercy, must be carefully and conscientiously kept when we have obtained the mercy, though they were made against our interest. A citizen of Zion, if he has sworn, whether it be to God or man, though it prove to his own hurt, yet he changeth not, Ps. 15. 4. Or, [2] Perhaps Abram, now when he saw cause to refuse the offer made him, at the same time confirmed his refusal with this oath, to prevent further importunity. Note, First, There may be good reason sometimes why we should debar ourselves of that which is our undoubted right, as St. Paul, 1 Cor. 8. 13.-9. 12. Secondly, That strong resolutions are of good use to put by the force of temptations.


3. He limits his refusal with a double proviso, v. 24. making vows, we ought carefully to insert the necessary exceptions, that we may not afterward say before the angel, It was an error, Ec. 5. 6. Abram here excepts, (1.) The food of his soldiers; they were worthy of their meat while they trod out the corn. This would give no colour to the king of Sodom to say that he had enriched Abram. (2.) The shares of his allies and confederates. Let them take their portion. Note, Those who are strict in restraining their own liberty, yet ought not to impose those restraints upon the liberties of others, nor to judge of them accordingly; we must not make ourselves the standard to measure others by. A good man will deny himself that liberty which he will not deny another, contrary to the practice of the Pharisees, Matt. 23. 4. There was not the same reason why Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, should quit their right, that there was why Abram should. They did not make the profession that he made, nor were they, as he was, under the obligation of a vow; they had not the hopes that Abram had of a portion in the other world, and therefore, by all means, let them take their portion of this.


V. 1. Observe here,

I. The time when God had this treaty with Abram; After ( 73 )

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