Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

with him, he should have what he wanted in w

possess her, if he had known she was a wife; || day; and from that time the Jews continue * But since,” said he," she accompanied thee the custom of circumcising their sons within in the character of thy sister, I was guilty of that number of days; but as for the Arabians, no offence.” He also intreated him to be at they circumcise after the thirteenth year, peace

with him, and to make God propitious because Ismael, the founder of their nation, to him; and that if he thought fit to continue who was born to Abraham of the concubine,

was circumcised at that age, concerning abundance; but that if he designed to go whom I will hereafter give a particular acaway, he should be honourably conducted, count. and have whatever supply he wanted when As for Sarah, she at first loved Ismael, who he came thither. Upon his saying this, Abra was born of her handmaid Hagar, with an ham told him, that his pretence of kindred to affection not inferior to that of a mother, for his wife was not a falsehood, because she he was brought up in order to succeed in the was his brother's daughter, and that he did government; but when she herself had borne not think himself safe in his travels abroad Isaac, she was not willing that Ismael should without this sort of dissimulation, and that he be brought up with him, as being too low for was not the cause of his distemper, but was him, and able to do him injuries when their only solicitous for his own safety. He said also father should be dead. She therefore perthat he was ready to stay with him, where suaded Abraham to send him and his moiher upon Abimelech assigned him land and to some distant country. Now at first he did money; and they covenanted to live together not agree to what Sarah was zealous for, and without guile, and took an oath at a certain thought it an instance of the greatest barwell, called Beersheba,* which may be in- barity to send away a young child,ş and a terpreted the well of the oath, and so it is woman unprovided of necessaries; but at named by the people of the country unto this length he agreed to it, because God was day.

pleased with what Sarah had determined ; so Now in a little time Abrahamt had a son he delivered Ismael to his mother, as not yet by Sarah, as God had foretold to him, whom able to go by himself, and commanded her to he named Isaac, which signifies laughter; take a bottle of water, and a loaf of bread, ** and indeed they so called him because Sarah and so to depart, and to take necessity for laughed when God saids that she should bear her guide. But as soon as her necessary proa son, she not expecting such a thing, as visions failed, she found herself in an evil being past the age of child-bearing, for she case; and when the water was almost spent, was ninety years old, and Abraham a hundred, she laid the young child, who was ready to so that his son was born to them both in the expire, under a fir-tree, and went on farther, last year of each of those decimal numbers; so that he might die while she was absent; and they circumcised him|| upon the eighth but a divine angel came to her, and told her * Gen. xvi. 31.

Matthew xxvii. 63. Luke ii. 21. John xx. 26. This is † An. 1937.

Reland's observation. † It is well worth observation that Josephus here calls $ Josephus here calls Ismael, urnov, a young child, or that principal angel who appeared to Abraham, and fore infant, though he were above 13 years of age, is Judas calls told the birth of Isaac, directly God; which as he had himself and his brethren véss, young men, when he was done it before in his coherence, c. 11. and does it after 47, when he had two children ; and they were of much ward, c. 13. and v. 8. is not very strange in a great reader the same age as is a damsel of 12 years old called audiov, and admirer of Philo, who does it so often ; which lan or little child, Mark v. 39–42, five several times. llero guage of Josephus's here, prepares us to believe those is also said by Josephus to be, ve@ Tavtámad, a very other expressions of his, that Jesus was a wise man, if it

young man

at 25 ; and Aristobulus is styled Tundlov, be lawful to call him a man, XVIII. 3. and of God the mavzáradi, a very little child, at 16 years of age. Antiq. Word, in his last homily concerning Hades, may be XV. 2. Domitian is also called by him aviaTOOIVÉOV, a both genuine; nor is the other expression of divine very young child, when he went on bis German expedition, angel, used presently, and before, also of any other signiti at about 18 years of age. Of the war, VII. 1. Samson's cation.

wife, and Ruth, when she was a widoir, are called waides || This circumcision is not after, but on the eighth day : children, Antiq. V. 8 and 9. Accordingly in Xenophon, as it is elsewhere expressed by Josephus. The like con we have waives for children, till 16 or 17 years of age struction to which we meet with in the New Testament, Kúes IIaid. Edit. Hutch. page 12.

** Gen. xxi. 14,

of a fountain hard by, and bid her take care, tain Moriah,t and to build an altar, and offer and bring up the child, because she should him for a burnt-offering upon it; for that this be

very happy by the preservation of Ismael. would best manifest his religious disposition She then took courage upon the prospect of towards him, if he preferred what was what was promised her, and meeting with pleasing to God before the preservation of some shepherds, by their care she got clear

his own son. of the distresses she had been in.

Now Abraham thought that it was not When the lad was grown up, he married a right to disobey God in any thing, but that wife, by birth an Egyptian; from whence the he was obliged to serve him in every circummother was herself derived originally. Of stance of life, since all creatures that live this wife were born to Ismael twelve sons; enjoy their life by his providence, and the Nabioth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mabsam, Idumas, kindness he bestows on them; accordingly Masmaos, Massaos, Chodad, Theman, Jetur, he concealed this command of God; and his Naphesus, and Kadmas. These inhabited all own intentions about the slaughter of his son the country from Euphrates to the Red Sea, from his wife, as also from every one of his and called it Nabatene. They are an Ara servants, otherwise he would have been hinbian nation, and name their tribes from these, dered from his obedience to God; and he both because of their own virtue, and because took Isaac together with two of his servants, of the dignity of Abraham their father. and laying what things were necessary for a

sacrifice, upon an ass, he went away to the CHAP. XIII.

mountain. Now the two servants went along

with him two days, but on the third day, as OF ISAAC, ABRAHAM'S LEGITIMATE SON.

soon as he saw the mountain, he left those

servants that were with him till then in the TOW Abraham greatly loved Isaac, as plain, and having his son alone with him, he

being his only begotten,* and given to came to the mountain. It was that mountain him at the borders of old age, by the favour upon which king David afterwards builts the of God. The child also endeared himself to temple. Now they had brought with them his parents still more, by the exercise of

every thing necessary for a sacrifice, exceptevery virtue, and adhering to his duty to his ing the animal that was to be offered. Now parents, and being zealous in the worship of Isaac was twenty-five years old, and as he God. Abraham placed also his own happi was building the altar, he asked his father ness wholly in this prospect, that when he what he was about to offer, since there was should die he should leave his son in a safe no animal there for an oblation; to which it and secure condition, which accordingly he was answered, that God would provide himobtained by the will of God; who being de self an oblation, he being able to make a sirous to make an experiment of Abraham's plentiful provision for men out of what they religious disposition towards himself, ap have not, and to deprive others of what they peared to him, and enumerated all the bless already have, when they put too much trust ings he had bestowed on him; how he made therein; that, therefore, if God pleased to be him superior to his enemies; and that his present and propitious at this sacrifice he son Isaac, who was the principal part of his would provide himself with an oblation. present happiness, was derived from him, and As soon as the altar was prepared, and he said that he required this son of his as a Abraham had laid on the wood, and all things sacrifice, and a holy oblation. Accordingly were entirely ready, he said to his son, “O son! he commanded him to carry him to the moun I poured out a vast number of prayers that

* Note that both here and Heb. xi. 17. Isaac is called Moriah, while it was certainly no other than king SoloAbraham's Movoysvn, only begotten son, though he at the mon, who built that temple, as indeed Procopius cites it same time had another son, Ismael. The Septuagint ex from Josephus ; only if we change lepov into somov, press the true meaning by rendering the text by dyaTnTÒv temple into altar, we need not correct the name, for it the beloved son.

was David and not Solomon, who built the first altar † Gen. xxii. 2.

there, as we learn, 2 Sam. xxiv. 18. &c. 1 Chron. xxi. | Here is a plain error in the copies, which say that 22. &c. king David afterwards built the temple on this mount | An. 1922.

I might have thee for my son; when thou wast done if God had not opposed it, for he called come into the world, there was nothing that loudly to Abraham by his name, and forbade could contribute to thy support for which I him to slay his son, and said it was not out of was not greatly solicitous; nor any thing

a desire of human blood that he was comwherein I thought myself happier than to see

manded to slay his son, nor was he willing thee grown up to man's estate; and that I that he should be taken away from him whom might leave thee, at my death, the successor he had made his father, but to try the temper to my dominion; but since it was by God's of his mind, whether he would be obedient will that I became thy father, and is now his to such a command: since, therefore, he now will that I relinquish thee, bear this conse was satisfied as to the surprising readiness cration to God with a generous mind; for I he shewed in his piety, he was delighted in resign thee up to God, who hath thought fit having bestowed such blessings upon him, now to require this testimony of honour to and that he would not be wanting in all sort himself on account of the favours he hath of concern about him; and that his son conferred on me, in being to me a supporter should live to a very great age, that he should and defender. Accordingly thou, my son, live a happy life, and bequeath a large prinwilt now die, not in any common way of going cipality to his children, who should be good out of the world, but sent to God, the father and legitimate. He foretold also that his of all men, before hand, by thy own father, in family should increase into many nations, * the nature of a sacrifice. I suppose he thinks and that those patriarchs should leave behind thee worthy to leave this world, neither by them an everlasting name; that they should disease, by war, nor any other severe way obtain the possession of the land of Canaan, by which death usually comes upon men, but

and be envied by all men. When God had so that he will receive thy soul with prayers said this, he produced to them a ram,t which and holy offices of religion, and will place did not appear before, for the sacrifice; so thee near to himself, and thou wilt there be Abraham and Isaac receiving each other unto me a succourer and supporter in my old expectedly, and having obtained the proage, on which account I principally brought mises of such great blessings, embraced one thee up; and thou wilt thereby procure me another; and when they had sacrificed, they God for my comforter instead of thyself.” returned to Sarah, and lived happily together,

Now Isaac was of such a generous dispo-God affording them his assistance in all sition as became the son of such a father, things they desired. and was pleased with this discourse, and said that he was not worthy to be born at

CHAP. XIV. first, if he should reject the determination of God and of his father, and should not resign OF THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF SARAH, ABRAHAM'S WIFE himself up readily to both their pleasures; since it would have been unjust if he had not OW Sarahỉ died a little while afterobeyed, even if his father alone had so re ward, having lived one hundred and solved: so he went immediately to the altar twenty-seven years. They buried her in to be sacrificed; and the deed had been Hebron, the Canaanites publicly allowing

* It seems both here, and in God's parallel blessing to the seed of Judah, who should die for them in visible and Jacob, c. 19. that Josephus had yet no notion of the hidden invisible wars, and should be among them an eternal king.” meaning of that most important and most eminent promise, Nor is that observation of a learned foreigner of my In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed ; acquaintance to be despised, who takes notice, that as he saith not of seeds, as of many, but as of one ; and to seeds in the plural must signify posterity, so seed in the thy seed, which is Christ, Gal. iii. 16. Nor is it any singular may signify either posterity, or a single person; wonder, he being, I think, as yet not a Christian : and and that in this promise of all nations being happy in the had he been a Christian, yet since he was till the latter seed of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, &c. it is always part of his life no more than an Ebonite Christian, who used in the singular; to which I shall add, that it is someabove all the apostles rejected and despised St. Paul, it times, as it were, paraphrased by the son of Abraham, the would be no great wonder if he did not now follow bis

son of David, &c. which is capable of no such ambiguity. interpretation. In the mean time we have in effect St. See Boyle's Lectures, page 247—272. Paul's exposition in the testament of Reuben in Authent. † Gen. xxii. 13. Rec. part 1. page 302, who charges his sons « To worship I Gen. xxiii 1. 2. An. 1900.

N

« PreviousContinue »