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prophet, and he shall 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. 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. Then Abimelech called Abram, and said unto him What hast thou done unto us 2 and in what have I of fended thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin; thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said unto Abram, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing 2 And Abram said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. 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. 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. . . . . . And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women servants, and gave them unto Abram, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy. brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold he is to thee a covering of the eyes unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abram prayed unto the Lo R D for Abimelech and his wife, and his servants, and the Lord heard him. And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech, and .. Phichol
Phichol the chief captain of his host, spake unto Abram, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest. . 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. And Abram said, I will swear. And Abram reproved. Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. And Abimelech said, 1 wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it but to-day. And Abram took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech - and both of them made a covenant. And Abram set seven eve-lambs of the flock by themselves. . • * And Abimelech said unto. Abram, What mean these seven eve-lambs which thou hast set by themselves 2. And he said, for these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me that L. have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beer sheba , because there they sware both of them. Thus they made a covenant at Beer sheba; and Abram planted a grove in Beer sheba, and called there on the name of the Lo R D, the everlasting God. And Abram sojourned in the Philistines land many days. - Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt. in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lok D.
The events which are here related, seem to belong to
an early part of Abram's history; but it is impossible to E 5 ascertain
ascertain their exact period; nor is it of material conse. quence to do so, (as our present business is not with the chronology, but the firaetical instruction of the old testament) or many reasons might be produced to shew,
that in the Bible they are not related in their natural
order. Perhaps the sacred historian might have some motive respecting the Jews, for this arrangement; but there can no ill consequences ensue to Christians from transpositions of this nature; and, therefore, we will consider these circumstances as happening while Abram and Sarai were young. The Philistines were a people originally descended from Misraim, the son of Ham. It is evident that Abimelech was on the whole a pious man, for he feared the Lo R D, and abhorred the crime of adultery, so that he would not take away another man's wife; though, according to a wicked custom, which prevailed in the world at that time, he did not scruple to have a plurality of wives. It also appears that the LoRD did not limit Divine revelation to Abram only; for both Pharaoh and Abimelech were acquainted by means of it, that they were in danger of committing a trespass, that would, according to the dispensation they lived under, bring heavy judgments on their kingdoms. We may further infer from this section, that the grace of God was not yet withdrawn from all the nations of the earth, for Abimelech was prevented by it from perpetrating a crime, which he would otherwise have committed. The method of Divine grace is likewise explained. GoD did not lay an absolute restraint on the will of Abimelech, but represented to him the sinfulness of the action, and the punishment that would follow the commission of it. By &ram's being appointed to pray for Abimelech, we may understand, that the patriarch had been made . . . . . . acquainted
acquainted with the hure worship of God, and knew how to address Him without those superstitious rites, which it is more than probable the Philistines used at that time. Abimelech's expostulation with Abram had great justice in it ; and Abram's apology was by no means a good one ; but as we do not find that he practised this kind of deception afterwards, we may conclude, he was convinced that he had acted upon false principles. The rebuke which Abimelech gave to Sarai, intimates that she made a greater display of her beauty than was proper for a married woman. The sum he presented her with, to buy a veil, amounted to about 571. of our money. The covenant which Abram entered into with this king, is farther proof that Abimelech' waa a pious man, which justifies Abram for making an alliance with him. His giving him a consideration for . the well intimates, that God had not given the giant of the land of the Philistines to Abram as an inheritance. The grove which Abram planted was to serve the purpose of a temple or place of public worship; here," in all probability the good patriarch assembled his fa-2 mily, to pay adoration to the Lo R D, the Eve RLA STING God. Afterwards, when the Tabernacle was made, grove worship was forbidden, for it had been greatly abused ty idolators. . The efficacy of Divine revelation in Abimelech's case, should lead all, who are tempted to commit the crime of adultery, to the same source. If the crimes of Kings are likely to bring punishments on their subjects, those who have a virtuous Sovereign,” are bound in holicy, as well as duty, to pray for the continuance of his life; and is adultery is among those vices which bring national judgments on a guilty land, every subject should avoid the practice of it; and those who - - - E 6 have
have actually committed it, must seek for pardon through a mediator, for they can obtain pardon and grace no other way. s
Evasions approach so near to falsehood, that they must be displeasing to a God of perfect truth ; and we may understand from the dangers and difficulties to which they exposed Abram and his wife, that the incidents relating to his behaviour in Egypt and Philistia, are recorded as warnings, not as examples to the world.
Before we proceed, it will be proper to observe, that sacred history sets before us the faults and failings, as well as the virtues of particular people. That part of each person’s character in which they are chiefly worthy of imitation, is plainly pointed out, and their general behaviour described in such a manner, that we may easily form a judgment of the propriety and impropriety of their conduct. Divine revelation does not per'form the office of human reason, but kindly assists it in matters beyond the reach of its powers; therefore, whenever the scriptures do not pass that censure upon the bad actions of those whose history it relates, which they appear to deserve, it is because the Spirit of GoD does nothing unnecessarily.
...And there was war between Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and his confederates, and Bera king of Sodom, and his confederates. * And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there ;
and they that remained fled to the mountains,