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HIS RESCUE OF THE SODOMITE PRISONERS
dal.* These kings had laid waste all Syria, and , taken by the Assyrians, and Lot, also, his kinsoverthrown the offspring of the giants. And man, returned home in peace. when they were come over against Sodom, they Now the king of Sodom met him at a certain pitched their
at the vale, called the Slime- place, which they called the King's Dale, where pits; for at that time there were many pits in that Melchisedec, king of the city of Salem, received place; but upon the destruction of the city of him. That name signifies, the righteous king: and Sodom, that vale became the lake Asphaltites, as such he was without dispute, insomuch, that on his it is called: however, concerning this lake, we account, he was made the priest of God. However, shall speak more presently. Now when the So- they afterwards called Salem, Jerusalem Now domites joined battle with the Assyrians, and the this Melchisedec supplied Abram's army in a hosfight was very obstinate, many of them were kill- pitable manner, and gave them provisions in abun, ed, and the rest were carried captive; among dance: and as they were feasting, he began to which captives were Lot, who had come to assist praise him, and to bless God for subduing his the Sodomites.
enemies under him. But wlien Abram gave him
the tenth part of his prey, he accepted of the CHAP. X.
gift. But the king of Sodom desired Abram to
take the prey; but entreated that he might have OP ABRAMS SUCCESSFUL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ASSYRIANS, AND those men restored to him whom Abram had
saved from the Assyrians, because they belonged WHEN Abram heard of their calamity, he was to him. But Abram would not do so; nor would at once afraid for Lot, his kinsman, and pitied the make any other advantage of that prey, than what Sodomites, his friends and neighbours; and think- his servants had eaten; but still insisted that he ing it proper to afford them assistance, he did not should afford a part to his friends who had assistdelay it, but marched hastily, and the fifth night ed him in the battle. The first of them was called fell upon the Assyrians near Dan; for that is the Eschol, and the others Enner and Mambre. name of the other spring of Jordan; and before God commended his virtue, and said, “Thou they could arm themselves he slew them as they shalt not, however, lose the rewards thou hast dewere in their beds; and others, who were not yet served to receive by such glorious actions." He gone to sleep, but were so intoxicated they could answered, “ And what advantage will it be to me not fight, ran away. Abram pursued after them to have such rewards, when I have none to enjoy till, on the second day, he drove them in a body them after me?” for he was hitherto childless. unto Hoba,f a place belonging to Damascus ; and And God promised that he should have a son, thereby demonstrated that victory does not depend and that his posterity should be very numerous; on multitude, and the number of hands, but that insomuch that their number should be like the the alacrity and courage of soldiers overcome the stars. When he heard that, he offered a sacrifice most numerous bodies of men : while he got the to God, as he commanded him. The manner of victory over so great an army with no more than the sacrifice was this :f He took an heifer of three three hundred and eighteen of his servants, and years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and three of his friends. But all those that fled re a ram in like manner, of three years old, and a turned home ingloriously. So Abram, when he turtle-dove, and a pigeon; and as he was enhad saved the captive Sodomites, who had been joined, he divided the three former, but the birds since it is observable, from what Isaiah hinted afterwards, chap. bolically staking their hopes of purification and salvation on X. 8, that the Assyrian boasted his deputy princes to be equal their performance of the conditions on which it was offered. to royal governors.
Are not my princes altogether kings ? This remarkable practice may be clearly traced in the Greek Shackford's Connection, Vol. II. I. 6. B.
and Latin writers. Homer has the following expression: Gen. xiv. 1.
+ Gen. xvi. 15. Opxia FISU TEMOVTEs. Il. ii. 124. Having cut faithful oaths. # It is worthy of remark, that God required no other sacrifices Eustathias explains the passage by saying, they were oaths reunder the law of Moses, than what were taken from these fivelating to important matters, and were made by the division of kinds of animals which he here required of Abram. Nor did the victim." See also Virgil, Æn. viii. ver. 640. The editor the Jews feed upon any other domestic animals than the three to the Fragments, supplementary to Calmet, No. 129, is of here named, as Reland observes on Antiq. iv. 4.
opinion that what is yet practised of this ceremony may eluci. It was a customary thing to cut the victim, which was to be date that passage in Isaiah, xxviii. 15. We have made a coveoffered as a sacrifice upon the occasion, into two parts, and so plac-nant with death, and with hell are we at agreement : when the ing each half upon two different altars, to cause those who con- overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, tracted the covenant to pass between both. This rite was practised for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we both by believers and heathens at their solemn leagues ; at first, 'hid ourselves. That is, we have cut off a covenant sacrifice, a doubtless, with a view to the great sacrifice, who was to purge purification offering with death, and with the grave we have our sins in his own blood ; and the offering of these sacrifices, settled, so that the scourge shall not injure us. May not such and passing between the parts of the divided victim, was sym a custom have been the origin of the following superstition re.
he did not divide. After which, before he bụilt Ismael, which may be interpreted Heard of God: his altar, where the birds of prey flew about as because God heard his mother's prayer. desirous of blood, a divine voice came to him de This son was born to Abram when he was claring that their neighbours would be grievous eighty-six years old. But when he was ninetyto his posterity, when they should be in Egypt, nine, God appeared to him, and promised that he for four hundred years:* during which time they should have a son by Sarai, and commanded that should be afflicted, but afterwards should overcome his name should be Isaac; and showed him that their enemies, should conquer the Canaanites in from this son should spring great nations and war, and possess themselves of their land, and of kings; and that they should obtain the land of their cities.
Canaan by war from Sidon to Egypt. But he Now Abram dwelt near the oak called Ogyges; charged, in order to keep his posterity unmixed the place belongs to Canaan, not far from the city with others, that they should be circumcised in of Hebron. But being uneasy at his wife's bar- the flesh of their foreskin, and that this should be renness, he entreated God to grant that he might done on the eighth day after they were born. The have male issue: and God required of him to be reason of which circumcision I will explain in anof good courage, and said, that he would add to other place. And Abram inquiring also concernall the rest of the benefits he had bestowed upon ing Ismael, whether he should live or not; God him, ever since he led him out of Mesopotamia, signified to him that he should live to be very old, the gift of children. Accordingly Sarai, at God's and should be the father of great nations. Abram command, brought to his bed one of her hand- therefore gave thanks to God for these blessings; maidens, a woman of Egyptian descent, in order and then he, with his son Ismael, and all his to obtain children by her: and when this hand family, were circumcised immediately: the son maid was pregnant, she triumphed, and ventured being that day thirteen years of age, and Abram to affront Sarai, as if the dominion were to come ninety-nine. to a son to be born of her. But when Abram resigned her into the hands of Sarai, to punish her,
CHAP. XI. she contrived to flee away, as not able to bear the
OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SODOMITE NATION, ON ACCOUNT OF instances of Sarai's severity to her: and she entreated God to have compassion on her. Now a About this time the Sodomites grew proud on acdivine angel met her as she was going forward in count of their riches and great wealth: they became the wilderness, and bid her return to her master unjust towards men, and impious towards God; inand mistress, for if she would submit to that wise somuch that they did not call to mind the advanadvice, she should live better hereafter: for that tages they received from him : they hated strangers the reason of her being in such a miserable case and abused themselves with unnatural practices. was, that she had been ungrateful and arrogant God was therefore much displeased at them, and towards her mistress. He also told her, that if determined, as a punishment for their pride, to she disobeyed God, and went on still on her way, overthrow their city, and lay waste their country, she should perish: but if she would return back, till there should neither plant nor fruit grow out she should become the mother of a son, who should of it. reign over that country. These admonitions she When God had thus resolved concerning the obeyed, and returned to her master and mistress, Sodomites, Abraham, as he sat by the oak of and obtained forgiveness.
Mambre, at the door of his tent, saw three anA little while afterwards, she gave birth to gels ;g and thinking them to be strangers, he rose
lated by Pitts: “If they (the Algerine Corsairs) at any time fidels apply themselves to imaginary intercessors, instead of the happen to be in a very great strait or distress, as being chased, or living and true God.” Travels, p. 18. In the case here rein a storm, they will gather money, light up candles in remem ferred to, the ship passes between the parts thus thrown on each brance of some dead Marrabot (saint) or other, calling upon | side of it. This behaviour of the Algerines may be taken as a him with heavy sighs and groans. If they find no succour from pretty accurate counterpart to that of making a covenant with their before-mentioned rites and superstitions, but that the dan- death, and with imminent danger of destruction, by appeasing ger rather increases, then they go to sacrificing a sheep, (or two the angry gods. Festivities always accompanied the ceremonies or three upon occasion as they think needful) which is done after attending oaths. Isaac and Abimelech feasted at making their this manner: having cut off the head with a knife, they imme- covenant, Gen. xxvi. 30. and xxxi. 54. This practice was also diately take out the entrails, and throw them and the head over | usual among the heathen nations. Oriental Customs, Vol. I. board; and then, with all the speed they can (without skinning) 294. B. they cut the body into two parts by the middle, and throw one * As to this affliction of Abraham's posterity for four hundred part over the right side of the ship, and the other over the left, years, see II. 9. into the sea, as a kind of propitiation. Thus those blind in
† An. 1956. Gen. xvi. 16. Gen. xxviii. 2.
up, and saluted them, and desired they would ac- , universal destruction ; but Lot, upon God's informcept of an entertainment, and abide with him: to ing him of the future destruction of the Sodomites, which when they agreed, he ordered cakes of went away, taking with him his wife and two meal to be made, and when he had slain a calf, daughters, who were still virgins, for those that he roasted it, and brought it to them as they sat were betrothedf to them were above the thoughts under the oak. Now they made a show of eat- of going, and deemed Lot's words trifling. God ing; and besides they asked him about his wife then cast a thunderbolt upon the city, and set it Sarah, where she was, and when he said she was on fire, with its inhabitants, and laid waste the within, they said they should come again here- country with the like burning, as I formerly said aster, and find her become a mother. Upon which when I wrote the Jewish war ;$ but Lot's wife the woman laughed, and said, that it was impos- continually turning back to view the city, as she sible she should bear children, since she was ninety went from it, and being too inquisitive what years of age, and her husband was an hundred. would become of it, although God had forbidden Then they concealed themselves no longer, but her so to do, was changed into a pillar) of salt; declared that they were angels of God; and that for I have seen it, and it remains at this day. Now one of them was sent to inform them about the he and his daughters fled to a certain small place, child, and two for the overthrow of Sodom. encompassed with the fire, and settled in it. It
When Abraham heard this, he was grieved | is to this day called Zoar, for that is the word for the Sodomites; and he rose up, and besought which the Hebrews use for a small thing. There God for them, and entreated him that he would it was that he lived a miserable life, on account not destroy the righteous with the wicked. But of his having no company, and his want of prowhen God had replied that there was no good man visions. among the Sodomites, for if there were but ten such But his daughters thinking that all mankind men among them he would not punish any of them were destroyed, approached to their father, for their sins, Abraham held his peace. And the though taking care not to be perceived. This angels came to the city of the Sodomites, and Lot they did, that the human race might not utterly entreated them to accept a lodging with him ;* fail; and they bare sons; the son of the elder was for he was a very generous and hospitable man, called Moab, which denotes one derived from his and one that had learned to imitate the goodness father: the younger bare Ammon, which name of Abraham. Now when the Sodomites saw the denotes one derived from a kinsman. The foryoung men to be of beautiful countenances and mer was the father of the Moabites, which is even this to an extraordinary degree; and that they still a great nation; the latter was the father of took up their lodgings with Lot, they resolved to the Ammonites, and both of them are inhabitants possess those beautiful boys by force; and when of Celesyria. And such was the departure of Lot Lot exhorted them to sobriety, and not to offer from among the Sodomites. any thing immodest to the strangers, but to have regard to their lodging in his house, and promised
CHAP. XIL. that if their inclinations could not be governed, he would expose his daughters to their lust, instead of these strangers; neither thus were they made ashamed.
ABRAHAM now removed to Gerar of Palestine, But God was much displeased at their impu- leading Sarah along with him, under the name of dent behaviour, so that he both smote those men his sister, using the like dissimulation that he had with blindness, and condemned the Sodomites to used before: for he was afraid of Abimelech, the
OF ABIMELECH'S CONDUCT TOWARDS ABRAHAM;-OF ISMAEL THE SON
OF ABRAHAM;-AND THE ARABIANS, HIS POSTERITY.
* Gen. xix. 2.
know. Its remote situation, at the utmost southern point of the + Gen. xix. 11.
sea of Sodom, in the wild and dangerous deserts of Arabia, makes # These sons-in-law to Lot, as they are called, Gen. xix. 12. it exceeding difficult for inquisitive travellers to examine the 14, might be so styled because they were betrothed to Lot's place, and for common reports of country people at a distance, daughters, though not yet married to them. See the Note on they are not very satisfactory. XIV. 13.
T I see no wicked intention of these daughters of Lot, in a Ş Of the War, IV. 8.
case which appeared to them as an unavoidable necessity. || This pillar of salt was, we see here, standing in the days of Incest is certainly a horrid crime; but whether irrsuch a case Josephus, and he had seen it. That it was standing then is also of necessity as they apprehended this to be, according to Jose. attested by Clement of Rome, contemporary with Josephus; as phus, it was any such crime, I am not satisfied. In the mean also it was standing in the next century, is attested by Irenæus, time, their making their father inebriated, and their solicitous with the addition of an hypothesis, how it came to last so long, concealment of what they did from him, showed that they with all its members entire. Whether the account that some despaired of persuading him to an action, which, at the best, modern travellers give be true, that it is still standing, I do not could not but be very shocking to so good a man.
king of that country; who actually fell in love with tain well, called Beersheba," which may be interSarah, and. was disposed to corrupt her, but he preted the well of the oath, and so it is named by was restrained from satisfying his desires by a the people of the country unto this day. dangerous distemper, which befell him from God. Now in a little time Abrahámt had a son by Now when his physicians despaired of curing him, Sarah, as God had foretold to him, whom he he fell asleep, and was warned in a dream not to named Isaac, which signifies laughter; and indeed abuse the stranger's wife; and when he recovered they so called him because Sarah laughed when he told his friends, that God had inflicted that God said that she should bear a son, she not exdisease upon him, by way of punishment for his pecting such a thing, as being past the age of injury to the stranger, and in order to preserve child-bearing, for she was ninety years old, and the chastity of his wife ; for that she did not ac- | Abraham a hundred, so that his son was born to company him as his sister, but as his legitimate them both in the last year of each of those deciwife; and that God had promised to be gracious mal numbers; and they circumcised him upon to him for the time to come, if this person were the eighth day; and from that time the Jews cononce secure of his wife's chastity. When he had tinue the custom of circumcising their sons within said this, by the advice of his friends he sent for that number of days; but as for the Arabians, Abraham, and told him not to be in the least con- they circumcise after the thirteenth year,
because cerned about his wife, for that God took care of Ismael, the founder of their nation, who was born him; and that it was by his providence he received to Abraham of the concubine, was circumcised at his wife again, without suffering any abuse; and that age, concerning whom I will hereafter give a he appealed to God, and to his wife's conscience, particular account. and said he had not any inclination at first to As for Sarah, she at first loved Ismael, who possess her, if he had known she was a wife; was born of her handmaid Hagar, with an affec“But since,” said he, “ she accompanied thee in tion not inferior to that of a mother, for he was the character of thy sister, I was guilty of no of- brought up in order to succeed in the government; fence.” He also entreated him to be at peace with but when she herself had borne Isaac, she was not him, and to make God propitious to him; and that willing that Ismael should be brought up with him, if he thought fit to continue with him, he should as being too low for him, and able to do him inhave what he wanted in abundance; but that if juries when their father should be dead. She he designed to go away, he should be honourably therefore persuaded Abraham to send him and his conducted, and have whatever supply he wanted mother to some distant country. Now at first he when he came thither. Upon his saying this, did not agree to what Sarah was zealous for, and Abraham told him, that his pretence of kindred to thought it an instance of the greatest barbarity his wife was not a falsehood, because she was his to send away a young child,|| and a woman unbrother's daughter, and that he did not think him- provided of necessaries; but at length he agreed self safe in his travels abroad without this sort of to it, because God was pleased with what Sarah dissimulation, and that he was not the cause of had determined; so he delivered Ismael to his his distemper, but was only solicitous for his own mother, as not yet able to go by himself, and safety. He said also that he was ready to stay commanded her to take a bottle of water, and a with him, whereupon Abimelech assigned him loaf of bread, I and so to depart, and to take neland and money; and they covenanted to live to-cessity for her guide. But as soon as her necesgether without guile, and took an oath at a cersary provisions failed, she found herself in an evil
* Gen. xvi. 31.
† An. 1937.
|| Josephus here calls Ismael unalov, a young child, or infant, # It is well worth observation that Josephus here calls that though he were above 13 years of age, as Judas calls himself principal angel who appeared to Abraham, and foretold the birth and his brethren véxs, young men, when he was 47, when he had of Isaac, directly God; which as he had done it before in his two children; and they were of much the same age as is a coherence, c. 11, and does it afterward, c. 13 and v. 8, is not damsel of 12 years old called audiov, or little child, Mark v. very strange in a great reader and admirer of Philo, who does 39–42, five several times. Herod is also said by Josephus to be, it so often ; which language of Josephus's here, prepares us to vi gavráradi, a very young man at 25; and Aristobulus is believe those other expressions of his, that Jesus was a wise styled Raidiov, raviáradiv, a very little child, at 16 years of age. man, if it be lawful to call him a man, XVIII. 3, and of God the Antiq. XV. 2. Domitian is also called by him TavlamadivÉov, Word, in his last homily concerning Hades, may be both genu a very young child, when he went on his German expedition, ine; nor is the other expression of divine angel, used presently, at about 18 years of age. Of the war, VII. 4. Samson's wife, and before, also of any other signification.
and Ruth, when she was a widow, are called waīdes children, The circumcision is not after, but on the eighth day : as it Antiq. V. 8 and 9. Accordingly in Xenophon, we have wardes is elsewhere expressed by Josephus. The like construction to for children, till 16 or 17 years of age Kúgy Ilaid. Edit. Hutch. which we meet with in the New Testament, Matthew xxvii. 63. page 12. Luke ii. 21. John XX. 26. This is Reland's observation.
1 Gen. xxi. 14.
wards him. The whole time of his life was one purchasing security to himself by a rational and hundred and seventy-five years,* and he was bu- prudent conduct. At length the king gave him ried in Hebron with his wife Sarah, by their sons permission to dig a well, which he pamed RehoIsaac and Ismael.
both; denoting a large space. But of the former
wells, one was called Escon, which denotes strife; CHAP. XVIII.
the other Sitenna, which name signifies enmity.
Isaac's affairs were now in a flourishing condiOF THE NATIVITY AND EDUCATION OF ESAU AND JACOB
tion; and his power increased from his great riches. Isaac's wife proved with child,t after the death But Abimelech thinking Isaac throve in opposition of Abraham ; and when she was far advanced in to him, while their living together made them suspiher pregnancy, Isaac was very anxious, and in- cious of each other; and Isaac's retiring showed a quired of God; who answered, that Rebeka should secret enmity also, the king was afraid that his bear twins, and that two nations should take the former friendship would not secure him, if Isaac names of those sons: and that he who appeared should endeavour to revenge the injuries he had forthe second, should excel the elder. Accordingly merly received: he therefore renewed his friendship she in a little time, as God foretold, gave birth to with him, in the presence of Philoc,|| one of his twins; the elder of whom, from his head to his generals; and when he had obtained every thing he feet, was very rough and hairy; but the younger desired, by reason of Isaac's good-nature, who pretook hold of his heel as they were in the birth. ferred the earlier friendship Abimelech had showed Now the father loved the elder, who was called to himself and his father, to alter his wrath against Esau: a name agreeable to his roughness, for the him, he returned home. I Hebrews call such a hairy roughness Esaus for Now when Esau, one of the sons of Isaac, whom Seir; but Jacob the younger was best beloved by the father principally loved, was come to the age of his mother.
forty years, he married Adah,** the daughter of When there was a famine in the land, Isaac Helon; and Aholibamah, the daughter of Esebeon, resolved to go into Egypt, the land there being which Helon and Esebeon were great lords among good; but he went to Gerar, as God commanded the Canaanites ; thereby taking upon himself the him. Here Abimelech, the king, received him authority, and pretending to have dominion over his kindly, because Abraham had formerly lived with own marriages, without so much as asking the him, and had been his friend; but when he saw advice of his father. For had Isaac been the arbithat God was with Isaac, and took such great trator, he would not have given him leave to marry care with him, he became envious, and drove him thus, for he was not pleased with contracting any away. Perceiving this change in Abimelech's alliance with the people of that country ; but not temper, Isaac retired to a place called the Valley, wishing to act harshly by his son, in commanding him not far from Gerar: and as he was digging a well, to put away these wives, he resolved to be silent. the shepherds fell upon him, and began to fight, But when he was old, and could not see at all, he in order to hinder the work, and because he did called Esau to him, and told him, that besides his not desire to contend, the shepherds seemed to blindness, and the disorder in his eyes, his very old get the better of him. So he still retired, and dug age hindered him from his worship of God, by saanother well: and when certain other shepherds, crifice: he bade him, therefore, to go out a-hunting, in the service of Abimelech, began to offer him and when he had caught as much venison as he violence, he left that also, and still retired: thus could, to prepare him a supper ;ff that after this he
* Gen. xxv. 7.
by Josephus,) but this conjectural reading is too uncertain to † The birth of Jacob and Esau is here said to be after Abra- be depended on. ham's death; it should have been after Sarah's death. The chro. 1 Gen. xxvi. 31.
** An. 1817. nology here certainly shows the other to be a mistake. The tt This supper of savoury meat, as we call it, Gen. xxvii. 4, order of the narration in Genesis, not always exactly according to be caught by hunting, was evidently intended for a festival to the order of time, seems to have led Josephus into it, as Dr. on a sacrifice; and upon the prayers that were frequent at sa. Bernard observes here.
crifices Isaac expected, as was then usual in such eminent cases, I Gen. xxv. 23.
that a divine impulse would come upon him, in order to the For Seir, in Josephus, the coherence requires that we solemn blessing of his son there present, and his foretelling his read Esau or Seir; which signifies the same thing.
future behaviour and fortune. Whence it must be, that when || While Josephus's copies, both Greek and Latin, mention Isaac had blessed Jacob, and was afterwards made sensible of this Philoc as one of Abimelech's generals, that accompanied his mistake, he did not attempt to alter it; because he knew him when he renewed the old league with Isaac, which had been that this blessing came not from himself, but from God; and made long before with Abraham, our new edition calls him that an alteration was out of his power. A second afflatus then Phicol by the same name with the general at the league made came upon him, and enabled him to foretell Esau's future bewith Abraham, (which old league is not so distinctly mentioned haviour and fortune also.