When Shelah was 30 years old, he became the father of Eber.
The human race may be compared to an immense temple ruined, but now rebuilding, the numerous compartments of which represent the several nations of the earth. True, the different portions of the edifice present great anomalies; but yet the foundation and the cornerstone are the same. All spring from the same level, and all should be directed to the same end. The walls of the building have been thrown down, and the stones scattered by a great earthquake; yet a mighty Architect has appeared, and His powerful hand is gradually raising the temple wails. The only difference between one side of the edifice and the other is, that here the restoration is somewhat further advanced, while there it is less forward. Alas! some places are still overgrown with thorns, where not a single stone appears. Yet the great Architect may one day look down on these desolate spots, and there the building may suddenly and rapidly spring up, reaching the summit long before those lofty walls which seem to have outgrown the others, but which are still standing half-raised and incomplete. "The last shall be first."
A genealogy of Shem and of Terah, in order to set forth clearly the position of Abraham and that of his nephew Lot, and their connection with Ur of the Chaldees and Canaan. The chosen family is about to be separated from their country, but we are not told that there was no light of God shining in Ur of the Chaldees. Probably there was the tradition of Shem's knowledge handed down through the generations. Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood; Salah, thirty-seven years; Eber, sixty-seven years; Peleg, one hundred and one years; Reu, one hundred and thirty-one years; Serug, one hundred and sixty-three years; Nahor, one hundred and ninety-three years; Terah, the father of Abraham, two hundred and twenty-two years - no great length of time for traditions to be preserved. The call of Abram was not merely his separation from idolatry, but his consecration to the special vocation of founding the religious institutions which were to be connected with his family. - R.
These are the generations of Shem. I.
THE LINE IN WHICH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE GOD WAS PRESERVED.
II. THE DIRECTION OF THE STREAM OF HISTORY TOWARDS THE MESSIAH. "God calmly and resolutely proceeds with His purpose of mercy. In the accomplishment of this eternal purpose He moves with all the solemn grandeur of long suffering patience. One day is with Him as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Out of Adam's three sons He selects one to be the progenitor of the seed of the woman. Out of Noah's three sons He again selects one. And now out of Terah's three is one to be selected. Among the children of this one He will choose a second one, and among his a third one before He reaches the holy family. Doubtless this gradual mode of proceeding is in keeping with the hereditary training of the holy nation, and the due adjustment of the Divine measures for at length bringing the fulness of the Gentiles in the covenant of everlasting peace."
III. THE GRADUAL, NARROWING OF HUMAN LIFE. "In the manifold weakenings of the highest life endurance, in the genealogy of them, there are, nevertheless, distinctly observable a number of abrupt breaks —
1. From Shem to Arphaxad, or from 600 years to 438;
2. From Eber to Peleg, or from 464 years to 239.
3. From Serug to Nahor, or from 230 years to 148; beyond which last, again, there extend the lives of Terah, with his 205, and of Abraham, with his 175 years. Farther on we have Isaac with 180 years, Jacob 147, and Joseph 110. So gradually does the human term of life approach the limit set by the Psalmist (Psalm 90:10). Moses reached the age of 120 years. The deadly efficacy goes on still in the bodily sphere, although the counter working of salvation has commenced in the spiritual."
The general title is expressed thus, "These are the generations of Shem." Of these Moses was speaking (chap. Genesis 10), so far as Peleg, whose name was given him upon the occasion of dividing the earth; by way of parenthesis, he includes the history and cause of this earth's division, in the former part of this chapter. He now returns to draw up the line full unto Abram, about which this title is set in the front. Consider the use of all these mentioned in the title.
1. To point where the Church of God was after the flood.
2. To show God's providence in singling out some generations in the world for His Church, these and not others.
3. To make known to us the state of the Church either for truth or for corruption at this time.
4. To continue to us the right chronology of the world, not for speculation only, but for pious practice to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
5. To make us better understand some passages of the prophets mentioning these persons or their conditions.
6. To show us the true line of Christ, and to confirm the New Testament given by Him. Every generation in the Church from the flood is but to bring Christ nearer.
()1. God's providence hath pointed out His Church and recorded its line, after as before the flood; herein helping the faith of following ages.
2. God chooseth what generations and families He pleaseth to pitch His Church in them.
3. A family God may choose out of the world to set His name upon them, when the world is passed by; a few or little remnant God reserveth.
4. Every generation in the Church from the flood is but to bring Christ nearer.
5. Times are appointed for the birth of everyone in the Church for His work (ver. 10).
6. Length of days, etc., God giveth to His chief witnesses, as Shem was to Isaac's days; much work he had to do in that compass of time.
7. The eminentest in the Church, may have many children degenerate from it. More care should be used to keep them closer to God (ver. 11).
PeopleAbram, Arphaxad, Eber, Haran, Iscah, Lot, Milcah, Nahor, Peleg, Reu, Salah, Sarai, Serug, Shelah, Shem, Terah
PlacesBabel, Canaan, Haran, Mesha, Shinar, Ur
Topics30, Begetteth, Begot, Eber, Salah, Shelah, Thirty
Outline1. One language in the world.
2. The building of Babel.
5. It is interrupted by the confusion of tongues, and the builders dispersed.
10. The generations of Shem.
27. The generations of Terah, the father of Abram.
31. Terah, with Abram and Lot, move from Ur to Haran.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 11:10-25
5726 old age, attainment
1655 hundreds and thousands
FROM THE PREFACE TO THE "HOLY CITY." UPON a certain First-day, I being together with my brethren in our prison-chamber, they expected that, according to our custom, something should be spoken out of the word for our mutual edification; but at that time I felt myself--it being my turn to speak--so empty, spiritless, and barren, that I thought I should not have been able to speak among them so much as five words of truth, with life and evidence: but at last it so fell out that providentially I cast …
John Bunyan—The Riches of Bunyan
Meditations to Stir us up to Morning Prayer.
1. If, when thou art about to pray, Satan shall suggest that thy prayers are too long, and that therefore it were better either to omit prayers, or else to cut them shorter, meditate that prayer is thy spiritual sacrifice, wherewith God is well pleased (Heb. xiii. 15, 16;) and therefore it is so displeasing to the devil, and so irksome to the flesh. Bend therefore thy affections (will they, nill they) to so holy an exercise; assuring thyself, that it doth by so much the more please God, by how much …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were …
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh
The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world--Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire--The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis. Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession …
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 4
The Promise to the Patriarchs.
A great epoch is, in Genesis, ushered in with the history of the time of the Patriarchs. Luther says: "This is the third period in which Holy Scripture begins the history of the Church with a new family." In a befitting manner, the representation is opened in Gen. xii. 1-3 by an account of the first revelation of God, given to Abraham at Haran, in which the way is opened up for all that follows, and in which the dispensations of God are brought before us in a rapid survey. Abraham is to forsake …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
The Book of the First Generations of Man, and the Glory of the Cainites.
I. THE BOOK OF THE FIRST GENERATIONS OF MAN, AND THE GLORY OF THE CAINITES. A. THE BOOK OF THE FIRST GENERATIONS OF MAN. 1. The reasons why Moses records the generations of Adam 1. 2. Why he so particularly gives the years, and in the case of each patriarch adds "and he died" 1-2. 3. Why Enoch is placed in the records of the dead 3-4. * Was Enoch a sinner, and do sinners have hope of eternal life 4. * Of death. a. How we are to comfort ourselves against death 5. b. How reason views death, and how …
Martin Luther—Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II
Appendix xii. The Baptism of Proselytes
ONLY those who have made study of it can have any idea how large, and sometimes bewildering, is the literature on the subject of Jewish Proselytes and their Baptism. Our present remarks will be confined to the Baptism of Proselytes. 1. Generally, as regards proselytes (Gerim) we have to distinguish between the Ger ha-Shaar (proselyte of the gate) and Ger Toshabh (sojourner,' settled among Israel), and again the Ger hatstsedeq (proselyte of righteousness) and Ger habberith (proselyte of the covenant). …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Cain Murders his Brother; Called to Account.
IV. CAIN MURDERS HIS BROTHER; CALLED TO ACCOUNT. A. HOW CAIN MURDERED HIS BROTHER. 1. What moved Cain to commit murder 107. 2. Cain's hypocritical actions in concealing his anger that he might the more easily commit the murder 108-109. * Cain the picture of all hypocrites 110-129. * The attitude of hypocrites to their neighbors. Also, how we are to view the efforts of the pope and bishops in behalf of peace and unity 111-112. * Against what people we should most guard 112. 3. How Cain listened to …
Martin Luther—Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II
An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the Eleventh
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among the author's papers after his death, in his own handwriting; and published in 1691, by Charles Doe, in a folio volume of the works of John Bunyan. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR Being in company with an enlightened society of Protestant dissenters of the Baptist denomination, I observed to a doctor of divinity, who was advancing towards his seventieth year, that my time had been delightfully engaged with John Bunyan's commentary on Genesis. "What," …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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