Genesis 15:15
And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
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(15) Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace.—Abram’s ancestors had died in Babylonia, but the phrase, used here for the first time, evidently involves the thought of the immortality of the soul. The body may be buried far away, but the soul joins the company of its forefathers in some separate abode, not to be absorbed, but still to enjoy a personal existence. (Comp. Genesis 25:8.) A similar, but more exact, distinction between the body and the spirit is drawn in Ecclesiastes 12:7.

Genesis 15:15. Thou shalt go to thy fathers — At death we go to our fathers, to all our fathers that are gone before us to the state of the dead, to our godly fathers that are gone before us to the state of the blessed. The former helps to take off the terror of death, the latter puts comfort into it. Thou shalt be buried in a good old age — Perhaps mention is made of his burial here, where the land of Canaan is promised him, because a burying-place was the first possession he had in it.

15:12-16 A deep sleep fell upon Abram; with this sleep a horror of great darkness fell upon him: a sudden change. The children of light do not always walk in the light. Several things were then foretold. 1. The suffering state of Abram's seed for a long time. They shall be strangers. The heirs of heaven are strangers on earth. They shall be servants; but Canaanites serve under a curse, the Hebrews under a blessing. They shall be suffers. Those that are blessed and beloved of God, are often sorely afflicted by wicked men. 2. The judgment of the enemies of Abram's seed. Though God may allow persecutors and oppressors to trample upon his people a great while, he will certainly reckon with them at last. 3. That great event, the deliverance of Abram's seed out of Egypt, is here foretold. 4. Their happy settlement in Canaan. They shall come hither again. The measure of sin fills gradually. Some people's measure of sin fills slowly. The knowledge of future events would seldom add to our comfort. In the most favoured families, and most happy lives, there are so many afflictions, that it is merciful in God to conceal what will befall us and ours.Know, know thou. - Know certainly. This responds to Abram's question, Whereby shall I know? Genesis 15:8. Four hundred years are to elapse before the seed of Abram shall actually proceed to take possession of the land. This interval can only commence when the seed is born; that is, at the birth of Isaac, when Abram was a hundred years of age and therefore thirty years after the call. During this interval they are to be, "first, strangers in a land not theirs" for one hundred and ninety years; and then for the remaining two hundred and ten years in Egypt: at first, servants, with considerable privilege and position; and at last, afflicted serfs, under a hard and cruel bondage. At the end of this period Pharaoh and his nation were visited with a succession of tremendous judgments, and Israel went out free from bondage "with great wealth" Exodus 12-14. "Go to thy fathers." This implies that the fathers, though dead, still exist. To go from one place to another implies, not annihilation, but the continuance of existence. The doctrine of the soul's perpetual existence is here intimated. Abram died in peace and happiness, one hundred and fifteen years before the descent into Egypt.9-21. Take me an heifer, &c.—On occasions of great importance, when two or more parties join in a compact, they either observe precisely the same rites as Abram did, or, where they do not, they invoke the lamp as their witness. According to these ideas, which have been from time immemorial engraven on the minds of Eastern people, the Lord Himself condescended to enter into covenant with Abram. The patriarch did not pass between the sacrifice and the reason was that in this transaction he was bound to nothing. He asked a sign, and God was pleased to give him a sign, by which, according to Eastern ideas, He bound Himself. In like manner God has entered into covenant with us; and in the glory of the only-begotten Son, who passed through between God and us, all who believe have, like Abram, a sign or pledge in the gift of the Spirit, whereby they may know that they shall inherit the heavenly Canaan. To thy fathers, i.e. either,

1. Into heaven, where thy godly progenitors are gone; or,

2. Into the state of the dead, where all thy fathers are gone before thee. This may seem more probable, at least in this place, partly, because this or the like phrase is indifferently used concerning good and bad men; see Genesis 25:8 Psalm 49:19; partly, because this phrase is so expounded, Acts 13:36, He, i.e. David, was laid to his fathers, and (for that is) saw corruption; partly, because some of Abraham’s fathers, and particularly Nahor, his grandfather, who lived and died an idolater, cannot with any warrant from Scripture be presumed to be gone to the place of blessedness in their souls. Free from those afflictions which shall come upon thy posterity after thy decease.

And thou shall go to thy fathers in peace,.... Or die, which is a going the way of all flesh, to a man's long home, out of this world to another, to the world of spirits, to those that are gone before them; which is no inconsiderable proof of the immortality of the soul. Jarchi infers from hence, that Terah, Abram's father, was a penitent, and died a good man, and went to heaven, the place and state of the blessed, whither Abram should go at death; but the phrase of going to the fathers is used both of good and bad men: it is moreover said of Abram, that he should go in peace; being freed from all the fatigues of his journeying from place to place in his state of pilgrimage, and not living to see the afflictions of his posterity, and to have any share in them; and dying in spiritual peace, in tranquillity of mind, knowing in whom he had believed, and where his salvation was safe and secure, and whither he was going; for a good man dies with peace of conscience, having his sins freely forgiven, and he justified from them by the righteousness of the living Redeemer, and enters into eternal peace, see Psalm 37:37,

thou shall be buried in a good old age; this signifies that he should live long, see many days and good ones, enjoy much health and prosperity, continue in the ways of truth and righteousness to the end, and come to his grave like a shock of corn fully ripe, and fit for an other world; and that he should have a decent interment in the land of Canaan, where he purchased a burial place, and which was a pledge and earnest of the future possession of it by his seed, the thing here promised.

And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
15. go to thy fathers] i.e. depart in death to join thy forefathers in the place of departed spirits, i.e. Sheôl. Cf. Genesis 47:30, “when I sleep with my fathers”; Genesis 49:33, “was gathered unto his people.”

a good old age] See for the fulfilment of this promise, Genesis 25:7-8. To live to a good old age and to depart this life in peace, was, as is shewn in the typical lives of the patriarchs, regarded as the reward of true piety. Cf. Job 5:26, “Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season”; Proverbs 9:11; Proverbs 10:27.

Verse 15. - And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace (cf. Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33). Not a periphrasis for going to the grave (Rosenmüller), since Abram s ancestors were not entombed in Canaan; but a proof of the survival of departed spirits in a state of conscious existence after death (Knobel, Murphy, Wordsworth, 'Speaker s Commentary,' Inglis), to the company of which the patriarch was in due time to be gathered. The disposal of his remains is provided for in what follows. Thou shalt be buried in a good old age. Genesis 15:15"And when the sun was just about to go down (on the construction, see Ges. 132), and deep sleep (תּרדּמה, as in Genesis 2:21, a deep sleep produced by God) had fallen upon Abram, behold there fell upon him terror, great darkness." The vision here passes into a prophetic sleep produced by God. In this sleep there fell upon Abram dread and darkness; this is shown by the interchange of the perfect נפלה and the participle נפלת. The reference to the time is intended to show "the supernatural character of the darkness and sleep, and the distinction between the vision and a dream" (O. v. Gerlach). It also possesses a symbolical meaning. The setting of the sun prefigured to Abram the departure of the sun of grace, which shone upon Israel, and the commencement of a dark and dreadful period of suffering for his posterity, the very anticipation of which involved Abram in darkness. For the words which he heard in the darkness were these (Genesis 15:13.): "Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them (the lords of the strange land), and they (the foreigners) shall oppress them 400 years." That these words had reference to the sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt, is placed beyond all doubt by the fulfilment. The 400 years were, according to prophetic language, a round number for the 430 years that Israel spent in Egypt (Exodus 12:40). "Also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge (see the fulfilment, Exodus 6:11); and afterward shall they come out with great substance (the actual fact according to Exodus 12:31-36). And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, and be buried in a good old age (cf. Genesis 25:7-8); and in the fourth generation they shall come hither again." The calculations are made here on the basis of a hundred years to a generation: not too much for those times, when the average duration of life was above 150 years, and Isaac was born in the hundredth year of Abraham's life. "For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." Amorite, the name of the most powerful tribe of the Canaanites, is used here as the common name of all the inhabitants of Canaan, just as in Joshua 24:15 (cf. Genesis 10:5), Judges 6:10, etc.).

By this revelation Abram had the future history of his seed pointed out to him in general outlines, and was informed at the same time why neither he nor his descendants could obtain immediate possession of the promised land, viz., because the Canaanites were not yet ripe for the sentence of extermination.

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