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And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took. Lot, Abram's brother's son (who dwelt in Sodom) and his goods, and departed. , And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner :. and these were confederate with Abram.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants^ born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
And he divided himself against them, he and his servants by night, and smote them, and pursued them, unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought, again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also* and the people.
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, (after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him) at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
And Melchisedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and "blessed be the most high God, which- hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
And the king of Sodom said unto Abrara, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I hajte lift up mine hand unto the Loud, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take
/ any *ny thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I hare made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Ashcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion. ^
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We read in a former section, that the descendants of the sons of Noah overspread the whole earth. Many ages passed, before all parts of the world were inhabited; but mankind must have increased very fast, or there could not have been such a number of kings, as we read of in Abram's time. These monarchs had no great extent of territory, each reigned over one city and its suburbs.
As it has been questioned, how those continents came to be peopled, which are widely separated from the parts first inhabited after the flood, it will be proper to mention, that, though all the great quarters of the world, are, for the most part, separated from each other by some vast extensive ocean, yet there is always some place where an isthmus, or small neck of land, is found to conjoin them, or some narrow sea is made to distinguish and divide them; and there is great reason to suppose, though it has not yet been discovered, that there may possibly be a small neck of land, by means of which some of the descendants of Noih passed into America.
We find, by the account here g'ven of Abram's. rescuing Lot, that he was a man of consequence in the estimation of his contemporaries. It is supposed, that' the king of Sodom, who came to meet Abram, was the son of him who fell at the slime pits. Abram's refusal of the booty shewed, that he did not engage in the war
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from avaricious motives, but entirely from that principle of humanity and affection, which ought to influence every one towards the unfortunate, especially if they should chance to be relations.
It has been a matter of great dispute, who Melchisedek, king of Salem, was, to whom Abram paid tythesThe apostle, St. Paul, has written largely on the subject*, and made it (as I think) evidently appear, that he was no less than the Lor D himself, who, while mankind continued innocent, might justly be regarded in his government of them, as King of Righteousness; and afterwards as King of Peace and Reconciliation for them as sinners. But in the full discussion of this point, it would be proper to employ the apostle's arguments, which will appear in a much clearer light with the rest of the doctrines of the New Testament; we will, therefore, pass it over at present.
The practical instruction to be collected from this section is, that it is our duty to go to the assistance of friends, whenever we can render them essential service; that in all deliverances from our enemies, we are to ascribe glory to God ; and that, if we . should discover who the King of Righteousness and Peace is, and should find that he is ready to meet all who, like Abram, believe and trust in the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, we are under an indispensable obligation topay homage to Him, as it is He alone who can convey a divine blessing to us. t
THE TEMPORAL COVENANT.
From Genesis, Chap. xv. After these things, the Word of . the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Ahram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
• Heb. vii.'
And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give tne, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold to me thou hast given., no seed :, and lo 1 one born in my house is mine heir!
And behold the Word of the Lord came unto htm> saying, This shall not be thine heir. And H E brought him forth abroad, and said,. Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them. And He said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
And Abram believed in the Lord, and he counted it to Him for righteousness.
And the, Lor D said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur. of the Ghaldees, to give thee . this land, to inherit it..
And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?:
And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon.
And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another, but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Ahram drove them away>
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and lo, an honor of great darkness fell upon him. ,
And the Lord said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall .be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years.
And also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge: and afterwards they shall come out with great substance. ,
But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again, for the iniquity of the Amorites ia not yet full. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoaking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
In this chapter, we read, that the Word of the Lordcame unto Abram. We are taaght by the Scriptures of the New Testament, and, indeed, by a succeeding verse in this section, that the Word, of the Lord is another title appropiiated by the Lord God. The purpose of this vision seems to have been to strengthen Abrarrr's faith by additional promises. It had been revealed to Abram before, that his descendants should be very numerous and prosperous, but as he had no present prospect of an heir, his hope might have failed, had not Gob thus graciously condescended to encourage it.
It is said that Abram believed in the Loud, and he counted it to him for righteousness i that is, Abram believed that the Lord was God, that He had power to do all things, and was ever faithful to His promises. On account of this faith, God, in his own great mercy,