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who was the grandson of Ham, was at the of head of this apostasy. As mankind multiplied the same part of the world could not have contained them all, and we learn from some texts of scripture, that the Lord had portioned out the earth for the habitation of nations yet unborn. This, as we may judge by analogy, from what was done in respect to the Israelites afterwards, was probably made known to Noah, who as a prophet, was to inform his descendants who were to be the heads of those nations, where their respective portions lay, which we may conceive they were to take possession of at the time appointed by the LoRD, the journeying therefore mentioned at the beginning of this lesson, was most likely undertaken by divine command; but some of the emigrants proposed to stop at the plain of Shinar, instead of going to their allotted country, and there fix their habitation. These, as we said before, were of the race of Ham, for we read that Nimrod set up a kingdom at Babel; and it was to frustrate the scheme which he and his followers had formed (to build a tower that should reach unto heaven) that the Lo R D descended to confound their language, and not that of the rebel8 and apostates only, but of all the rest of mankind, in such a manner that the different nations should have . different languages; but it is supposed that in all them there was great affinity to the original language, which is generally imagined to have been Hebrew. It seems, that the Lok D visibly appeared on this occasion, and vindicated His own honour; but, according . to His infinite goodness, He mingled mercy with judg- . ment. For he spared the lives of those presumptuous sinners who had openly defied his power, instead of striking them dead as they deserved. . . . . . - Nothing could more effectually oblige mankind to . - separate
separate, than their not being able to understand others, or to make themselves understood. It was natural that those, who could converse with each other, should wish to live together, and accordingly depart together to the places of their respective allotments: thus were different nations founded, and in process of time the whole earth was overspread with the descendants of the three sons of Noah. The Patriarch with the race of Shem, are supposed to have continued in the East, and to have retained their original language, and also to have kept up the true religion ; but the other nations became more or less corrupted. The dispersion at the tower of Babel is supposed to have happened in the fourth generation from Shem; for it is said in Scripture, that in the days of Peleg (who in the genealogy holds that place) the earth was divided. Nothing could more effectually awaken mankind to a sense of God's power and their own weakness, than the astonishing miracles here recorded. It was likewise calculated to teach those who should come after them, that schemes of ambition and presumption may be frustrated in a moment of time. Let us, then, carefully guard our minds against pride and impiety, and walk humbly with our God.
SECTION XIII. Th E GEN EALOGY OF S h E. M. From Genesis, Chaft. xi. Sār M was an hundred years old, when he had Ak. *HAXAu two years after the flood, and he lived after. wards, five hundred years, and had sons and daughters. ARP HAxAD lived thirty and five years and had SA
***, after which he lived seven hundred and three Years, and had sons and daughters.
*** lived thirty years, and had Eber; after which
he lived four hundred and three years, and had sons and daughters. Eber lived thirty and four yerrs, and had Pelec, after which he lived four hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters. Peleg lived thirty years, and had Rev, after which he lived two hundred and nine years, and had sons and daughters. Reu lived thirty and two years, and had Serud, after which he lived two hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. Serug lived thirty years, and had NAhor, after which he lived two hundred years, and had sons and daughters. NAH or lived twenty and nine years, and had Te RAH, after which he lived an hundred and nineteen years, and had sons and daughters. TERA H lived seventy years, and had three sons, AB RAM, NA HoR, and HAR AN. Haran died before his father in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees; and left a son named Lot. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was SARA I. She had no children. The name of Nahor's wife was MilcA H.; she was the daughter of Haran. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, Abram's wife, and they went forth with him from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan: and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Haran were two hundred and five years: and he died in Haran.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
This genealogy is preserved in order to shew that Abram descended in a direct line from Shem, the son of Adam and Eve, and to prove afterwards that the
Messiah descended from Shem. słcTION
SECTION XIV. the history of Abram. God's promise. From Genesis, Chah. xii. o Now the Lo R D had said unto Abram Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee. o And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. - . So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him ; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they came. - o And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreb. And the Canaanite was then in the land. - - o And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land ; and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. * And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east; and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still towards the south. . . . And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. - * ~ * * * Vol. I. E ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is likely that, after the dispersion of mankind at the Tower of Babel, the Lord, as a punishment for their not humbling themselves, withdrew His visible firesence ; for we do not read of his appearing on earth again, till some generations afterwards; however, the knowledge of the true religion could not have been lost to the world, : if people had been intent on serving Him in an acceptable manner; but it is conjectured, that the greatest part of the nations, into which the world was divided, instead of keeping to the religion of Noah, gradually fell into idolatry, some entirely neglecting the worship of the true God, and fancying a plurality of Gods ; others corrupting the worship of Him, by practices of their own invention, such as still subsist in the eastern countries. God was pleased to suffer these abominations to prewail for a time, perhaps to give occasion for shewing the necessity of Divine revelation, and for displaying His wisdom and goodness, of which we should not have had such striking instances, if His power had immediately destroyed false worshippers: God, however, resolved to manifest IIimself to the world, that all men might know, when they saw His mighty acts, that He is the only GoD ; for this purpose, He determined to raise up a peculiar people, amongst whom he would maintain His honour, and keep up the expectation of the promised SAviour. -
Leaving, then, the idolatrous nations to follow their wicked abominations for a season, the Lo R D God appeared to Abram, and promised that, if he would obey His voice, He would make of him a great nation, and that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed; which last words we understand to mean, that from Abram, should descend, at the appointed time, the Saviour of the world.