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then to part with her, shewed a firm trust in the LORD. The blessing pronounced on her .at parting, seems to allude to the Everlasting Covenant. This afterwards became a solemn form of benediction in the marriage ceremony among the Jews.
The marriage of Isaac appears to have taken place soon after the death of his mother.
In former sections we read, that the Lord on many occasions visibly interposed in Abraham's temporal con
We find in this portion of Scripture a wonderful concurrence of circumstances, that could scarcely have happened by chance. Abraham's servant was not favoured with a visible manifestation of the Deity, yet he clearly discerned a particular Providence in the occurrences which befel him, and acknowledged with thankfulness the goodness of the LORD.
By his example, we are instructed to ascribe our success and prosperity in the affairs of this life, to the merciful guidance and direction of an over-ruling Providence : for what the LORD did for Eliezer, He still continues to do for all who put their trust in. Him. A man's heart (says Solomon*) deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.
It is to be observed, that Eliezer did not throw 'him. self entirely upon Providence : in the first place he solemnly resolved to do what his duty required; he then employed those means for the accomplishment of his purpose, which human reason would in that case turally suggest (providing himself with such a retinue and presents, as were likely to procure him credit and attention); and having done this, he prayed to the LORD God to dispose those contingencies which were not in his own power. Let us in every important affair
* Prov, xvi.?,
pursue the like method; and if our wishes are crowned with success, let us not pride ourselves in the wisdom of our own contrivances, but, with humility and thankfulness, acknowledge the goodness of the SUPREME DIRECTOR of all events, as Eliezer did.
THE BIRTH OF ESAU AND JACOB.
From Genesis, Chap. xxv.
And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she had no children, and the Lord granted his prayer.
And Rebekah went to enquire of the Lord, and the Lord revealed to her that two nations should proceed from her, and that they should be two nianner of people ; that the one people or nation should be stronger than the other ; and that the elder should serve the younger.
And Rebekah bare twin sons, and she called the firstborn Esau, and the younger she called Jacob. And Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
And the boys grew : and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esaü, because he did eat of his venison : but Rebekah loved Jacob.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. As Isaac was heir to the promises, it was very natural for him to be desirous of having a son, that he might transmit the inheritance to the next generation ; however, it seems that he waited with patient resignation for 20 years, and then his hope beginning to fail, he solemnly and earnestly entreated the Lord to grant him an increase of family.
By By the expression Rebekah enquired of the LORD, we may understand that God stil continued, by immediate revelation, to make his will known to his chosen servants,
The prediction given to Rebekah, on this occasion, was a very remarkable one, and, from its accomplishment, will be found to relate not fiersonally to the children that were to be born of her, but nationally to their posterities ; and the Apostle to the Hebrews refers to it as a proof, that the purpose and intention of God, according to his own free choice, was the only rule and standard for his choosing one nation rather than another, to be his peculiar people, not any works or merit on the part of man ; for this declaration was made be- , fore the persons from whom these two nations were to proceed, were born; consequently, before they had done good to deserve, or evil to forfeit the Divine Favour*.
As the children grew up, their genius and disposition led them to different pursuits ; but there was nothing in the manyer of Jacob tliat indicated his future superiority to his brother : on the contrary, Esau was of . an active enterprising spirit, Jacob of a quiet domestic turn.
* From Genesis, Chap. xxv. When Sarah was dead Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah; and she bare him six sons, Zimram, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
* See Rom. ix. 10, 11, 12. See also Taylor's Paraphrase on this chapter of Romanse
And the sons of Jokshan, were Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian ; Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
And Abraham gave all that he had in the land of Canaan unto Isaac. But unto the other sons which Abraham had, he gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac, eastward, unto the east country, while he yet lived.
And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life, which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre ;
The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Who Keturah was, whom Abraham married, is not known; but, without doubt, if she had ever been an idolatress, she was not so when he took her as his wife.
It had been predicted by the LORD, that Abraham should be the father of many nations, and he lived to see the sons and grandsons, from whom they were to proceed, grow up ; and so considerable were his possessions, that he was enabled to give them all portions, without any injury to his son Isaac. They settled comfortably in different places, and multiplied and prospered exceedingly. In time, each family became a nation, and their descendants branched out into other nations : 80 that all the generations could not be numbered individually by human art, any more than the dust of the earth, the sand on the sea-shore, or the stars in the fir. mament*.
Ishmael, in particular, was successful to a remarkable degree ; and had, as the LORD promised, twelve sons, who became princes, and confederated together, so as to form a great nationt:
This wonderful prosperity was doubtless considered by Abraham as the completion of that part of the Temporal Covenant, which related to himself, and was an earnest of the completion of the Everlasting Covenant. In this sense we should regard this passage of Sacred History, and learn from it to place a strong confidence in the promises of Godf, respecting this covenant, made known to us in his Holy Word, but which still remain to be fulfilled.
The other branches of Shem's family increased also, as did the posterity of Japheth and Ham. Those de: scended from Canaan, as we observed before, were the idolatrous nations, whose land was given as an inheritance to the descendants of Abraham.
In providing for his other sons, Abraham had carefully reserved for Isaac all his property that was annexed to the covenant, which God had vouchsafed to make with him respecting the land of Canaan, a large tract of which must, by this time, have been overspread by his numerous flocks and herds. The good Patriarch took a very proper measure in sending his other sons to settle in distant places; for it was the only probable
it See Gen. xxr.
Gen. xiii, 16. xv. 5. xxii. 17.
Gen. xviii, 19.