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rious actions." He answered, “ And what Now Abram dwelt near the oak called advantage will it be to me to have such re Ogyges: the place belongs to Canaan, not wards, when I have none to enjoy them after far from the city of Hebron. But being unme?" for he was hitherto childless. And easy at his wife's barrenness, he intreated God promised that, he should have a son, God to grant that he might have male issue: and that his posterity should be very nu and God required of him to be of good merous; insomuch that their number should courage, and said, that he would add to all be like the stars. When he heard that, he the rest of the benefits he had bestowed upon offered a sacrifice to God, as he commanded him, ever since he led him out of Mesopotahim. The manner of the sacrifice was mia, the gist of children. Accordingly Sarai, this:* He took an heifer of three years old, at God's command, brought to his bed one of and a she-goat of three years old, and a her handmaidens, a woman of Egyptian deram in like manner of three years old, and a
a scent, in order to obtain children by her: and turtle dove, and a pigeon; and as he was en when this handmaid was pregnant, she trijoined, he divided the three former,f but the umphed, and ventured to affront Sarai, as if birls he did not divide. After which, before the dominion were to come to a son to be he built his altar, where the birds of prey born of her. But when Abram resigned her flew about as desirous of blood, a divine voice into the hands of Sarai, to punish her, she came to him declaring that their neighbours contrived to flee away, as not able to bear would be grievous to his posterity, when they the instances of Sarai's severity to her: and shoull be in Egypt, for four hundred years: she intreated God to have compassion on during which time they should be aillicted, her. Now a divine angel met her as she was but afterwards shall overcome their enemies, going forward in the wilderness, and bid her should conquer the Canaanites in war, and return to her master and mistress: for if she possess themselves of their land, and of their would submit to that wise advice, she should cities.
live better hereafter: for that the reason of
* It is worthy of remark, that God required no other sacrifices under the law of Moses, than what were taken from these five kinds of animals which he here required of Abram. Nor did the Jews feed upon any other domestic animals than the three here named, as Reland observes on Antiq. iv. 4.
† It was a customary thing to cut the victim, which was to be offered as a sacrifice upon the occasion, into two parts, and so placing each halt upon two different altars, to cause those who contracted the covenant to pass between both. This rite was practised both by believers and heathens at their solemn leagues : at first, doubtless, with a view to the great sacrifice, who was to purge our sins in his own blood : and the offering of these sacrifices, and passing between the parts of the divided victim, was symbolically staking their hopes of purification and salvation on their performance of the conditions on which it was offered. This remarkable practice may be clearly traced in the Greek and Latin writers. Homer has the following expression : Opxia Misa TEPOVTES. II. ii. 124. Having cut faithful oaths. Eustathius explains the passage by saying, they were oaths relating to important matters, and were made by the division of the victim. See also Virgil, Æn. viii. ver. 640. The editor to the Fragments, Supplementary to Calmet, No. 129. is of opinion that what is yet practised of this ceremony may elucidate that passage in Isaiah xxviii. 15. We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for me have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. That is, we have cut off a covenant sacrifice, a purification offering with death, and with the grave we have
settled, so that the scourge shall not injure us. May not
As to this affliction of Abraham's posterity for four
her being in such a miserable case was, that at them, and determined as a punishment for she had been ungrateful and arrogant towards their pride, to overthrow their city, and lay her mistress. He also told her, that if she waste their country, till there should neither disobeyed God, and went on still on her way, plant nor fruit grow out of it. she should perish: but if she would return When God had thus resolved concerning back, she should become the mother of a son, the Sodomites, Abraham, as he sat by the who should reign over that country. These oak of Mambre, at the door of his tent, saw admonitions she obeyed, and returned to her three angels ;and thinking them to be master and mistress, and obtained forgive- strangers, he rose up, and saluted them, and
desired they would accept of an entertainA little while afterwards, she gave birth to ment, and abide with him: to which when Ismael,* which may be interpreted Heard of they agreed, he ordered cakes of meal to be God: because God heard his mother's prayer. made, and when he had slain. a calf, he
This son was born to Abram when he was roasted it, and brought it to them as they sat eighty-six years old.t But when he was under the oak. Now they made a shew of ninety-nine, God appeared to him, and pro- eating; and besides they asked him about mised that he should have a son by Sarai, his wife Sarah, where she was, and when he and commanded that his name should be said she was within, they said they should Isaac; and shewed him that from this son come again hereafter, and find her become a should spring great nations and kings; and mother. Upon which the woman laughed, that they should obtain the land of Canaan by and said, that it was impossible she should war from Sidon to Egypt. But he charged, bear children, since she was ninety years of in order to keep his posterity unmixt with age, and her husband was an hundred. Then others, that they should be circumcised in the they concealed themselves no longer, but flesh of their foreskin, and that this should be declared that they were angels of God; and done on the eighth day after they were born. that one of them was sent to inform them" The reason of which circumcision I will ex about the child, and two for the overthrow plain in another place. And Abram enquiring of Sodom. also concerning Ismael, whether he should When Abraham heard this, he was grieved live or not; God signified to him that he for the Sodomites; and he rose up, and be should live to be very old, and should be the sought God for them, and intreated him that father of great nations. Abram therefore gave he would not destroy the righteous with the thanks to God for these blessings; and then wicked. But when God had replied, that he, with his son Ismael, and all his family, there was no good man among the Sodomites, were circumcised immediately: the son being for if there were but ten such men among that day thirteen years of age, and Abram them he would not punish any of them for ninety-nine.
their sins, Abraham held his peace. And the
angels came to the city of the Sodomites, and CHAP. XI.
Lot intreated them to accept a lodging with him ;|| for he was a very generous and hospitable man, and one that had learned to
imitate the goodness of Abraham. Now when BOUT this time the Sodomites grew the Sodomites saw the young men to be of
proud on account of their riches and beautiful countenances and this to an extragreat wealth: they became unjust towards ordinary degree; and that they took up their men, and impious towards God; insomuch lodgings with Lot, they resolved to possess that they did not call to mind the advantages those beautiful boys by force; and when Lot they received from him: they hated strangers
exhorted them to sobriety, and not to offer and abused themselves with unnatural prac any thing immodest to the strangers, but to tices. God was therefore much displeased have regard to their lodging in his house, * An. 1956.
† Gen. xxviii. 2. 18, NN 28 † Gen. xvi. 16.
Gen. xix. 2. VOL. 1.NO. 1,
OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SODOMITE NATION, ON
ACCOUNT OF THEIR SINS.
trothedfito virem were above the thoughts of A Palestine, leadingan
Surah along with
and promised that if their inclinations could || father of the Moabites, which is even still a not be governed, he would expose his daugh-great nation; the latter was the father of the ters to their lust, instead of these strangers;
Ammonites, and both of them are inhabitants neither thus were they made ashamed. of Celesyria. And such was the departure
But God was much displeased at their im of Lot from among the Sodomites. pudent behaviour, so that he both smote those men with blindness,* and condemned the
CHAP. XII. Sodomites to universal destruction; but Lot, upon God's informing him of the future de OF ABIMELECH'S CONDUCT TOWARDS ABRAHAM ;-OF ISMAEL struction of the Sodomites, went away, taking
THE SON OF ABRAHAM ;—AND THE ARABIANS, is poswith him his wife and two daughters, who were still virgins, for those that were be BRAHAM now removed to Gerar of trothedt to them going, and deemed Lot's words trifling. God
him, under the name of his sister, using the then cast a thunderbolt upon the city, and like dissimulation that he had used before: set it on fire, with its inhabitants, and laid for he was afraid of Abimelech, the king of waste the country with the like burning, as I that country; who actually fell in love with formerly said when I wrote the Jewish war; Sarah, and was disposed to corrupt her, but but Lot's wife continually turning back to he was restrained from satisfying his desires view the city, as she went from it, and being by a dangerous distemper, which befel him too inquisitive what would become of it, from God. Now when his physicians desalthough God had forbidden her so to do, was paired of curing him, he fell asleep, and was changed into a pillar|| of salt; for I have seen warned in a dream not to abuse the stranger's it, and it remains at this day. Now he and wife; and when he recovered he told his his daughters fled to a certain small place, friends, that God had inflicted that disease encompassed with the fire, and settled in it.
upon him, by way of punishment for his injury It is to this day called Zoar, for that is the to the stranger, and in order to preserve the word which the Hebrews use for a small chastity of his wife; for that she did not acthing. There it was that he lived a miserable company him as his sister, but as his legitimate life, on account of his having no company, and wife; and that God had promised to be grahis want of provisions.
cious to him for the time to come, if this perBut his daughters thinking that all man son were once secure of his wife's chastity. kind were destroyed, approached to their When he had said this, by the advice of his father, though taking care not to be per friends he sent for Abraham, and told him not ceived. This they did, that the human race to be in the least concerned about his wife, might not utterly fail; and they bare sons, the for that God took care of him; and that it son of the elder was called Moab, which de was by his providence he received his wife notes one derived from his father: the younger again,
again, without suffering any abuse; and he bare Ammon, which name denotes one de-appealed to God, and to his wife's conscience, rived from a kinsman. The former was the and said he had not any inclination at first to * Gen. xix. 11.
of Sodom, in the wild and dangerous deserts of Arabia, † These sons-in-law to Lot, as they are called, Gen. makes it exceeding difficult for inquisitive travellers to xix. 12, 14, might be so styled because they were be examine the place, and for common reports of country trothed to Lot's daughters, though not yet married to people at a distance, they are not very satisfactory, them. See the Note on XIV. 13.
§ I see no wicked intention of these daughters of Lot. ☆ Of the War, IV. 8.
in a case which appeared to them as an unavoidable necesli This pillar of salt was, we see here, standing in the sity. Incest is certainly a horrid crime ; but whether in days of Josephus, and he had seen it. That it was stand such a case of necessity as they apprehended this to be, ing then is also attested by Clement of Rome, contempo according to Josephus, it was any such crime, I am not sarary with Josephus ; as also it was standing in the next tisfied. In the mean time, their making their father incentury, is attested by Irenæus, with the addition of an hy ebriated, and their solicitous concealment of what they did pothesis, how it came to last so long, with all its members from him, shewed that they despaired of persuading him to intire. Whether the account that some modern travellers an action, which at the best, could not but be very shockgive be true, that it is still standing, I do not know. Its ing to so good a man. remote situation, at the utmost southern point of the sea